Over 1,000 vulnerable people were detained in police cells in England and Wales under sectioning powers in the year up to March 31, the latest annual statistics have shown today.

1,029 people were detained in custody under the mental health act by police in the year to March 31 2017, national statistics shared by the Home Office revealed today.

The police can use section 136 of the Mental Health Act to take individuals to a 'place of safety' if they think you have a mental illness and are 'in need of care'.

A place of safety can be a hospital or a police station. The police can move individuals from one place to another. Only 62 people were taken directly to their home last year.

The most common reasons recorded by police for using the powers were 'behaviour' and 'ambulance not available within 30 minutes'.

The latest figures show that even if they are taken to hospital, you are more likely to be taken there in a police car (10,846 instances) than an ambulance (9,142 instances).

Earlier this month, prime minister Theresa May commenced an independent review of the mental health act which concerned groups and individuals have already begun contributing to.

It coincided with the publication of a race audit which confirmed what many already know, that the powers are disproportionately used against ethnic minorities.

Speaking to Mental Health Today at an event for Black History Month last night, Patrick Vernon of Black Thrive, a partnership for Black Wellbeing, said the mental health act needed to be reformed effectively to ensure people's rights cease being infringed.

"This is about rights and freedoms. If we can succeed in getting the law right for black and Asian people, we can get the law right for everyone."