National policing lead for custody Assistant Chief Constable Dawn Copley said:
"If someone is suffering from mental ill-health, the best people to deal with them are specially trained medical practitioners, not police officers. The best place for them to be treated is on medical premises, not in police stations. People with mental ill health should only be detained in a police station in exceptional circumstances and for as short a time as possible. Today's HMIC report shows that police stations are being routinely used as places of safety.
"The police service is working with Government and Department of Health to ensure that people at a point of crisis receive an appropriate response from the right service at the right time. The recommendations contained within the report will help to achieve this.
"We note that HMIC have stopped short of calling for a change in the law at this time, albeit it remains an option for further debate. "