Every police station is to have a psychiatric nurse on duty 24 hours a day by 2016, prisons and rehabilitation minister Jeremy Wright has promised.
These nurses will help ‘divert’ the mentally ill away from the criminal justice system.
Wright also claimed that the treatment of mentally unwell individuals is set to be ‘as good inside prison as it is on the outside’.
Wright was speaking last week at an event to mark five years since the publication of the Bradley Report, which recommended 81 measures to reduce the proportion – estimated to be 70% – of the UK prison population with two or more mental health disorders.
The measures included diversion and triage in custody, with separate processes for adults and for children and young people; awareness training for police officers; and the requirement, as part of a community order, to undergo mental health treatment.
The report’s author Lord Bradley, said: ‘We are halfway there after five years, but in another five years we need to get together again to ensure we are maintaining our vision and ambition.’