Children suffering from mental health conditions put in prison cells for want of suitable hospital beds

Police in England and Wales detained 202 vulnerable under-18s under the Mental Health Act, some for more than two days, despite widespread condemnation of the practice. Hampshire police held a 17-year-old girl for 63 hours and 40 minutes, while Nottinghamshire police held a 16-year-old girl for 52 hours.

Responding to the figures, Marjorie Wallace, the chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, said: “It is quite unacceptable that anyone suffering from a mental health condition, especially a young person, should treated as a criminal.

VIDEO: Mental health street scheme hailed a success

An innovative mental health street triage service for Dorset is reducing the number of times police have to detain mental health sufferers in custody.

Nearly half the number of people detained under Section 136 in Dorset have ended up in custody in 2014, compared with the previous year. Figures show 44% less people were placed in custody during 2014 as there were in 2013 as a result of displaying a mental health condition.