The Independent Police Complaints Commission published on 8 March a report Police use of force: evidence from complaints, investigations and public perception. The section on the use of force in relation to those with mental health difficulties makes particularly sobering reading. As the report notes:

“The IPCC has frequently expressed concern about the relationship between mental illness, restraint and death. One in five of those involved in our investigations into use of force were known to have mental health concerns. They were four times more likely to die after force had been used than those not known to be mentally ill. They were much more likely to be restrained, to experience multiple uses of force, and to be subject to force in a custody environment. People with mental health concerns are clearly vulnerable, but in many cases, they were also likely to present challenges to the police officers dealing with them. They were much more likely to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and to be in possession of some kind of weapon, with risks to themselves or others. This underlines the findings in other reports: not only do police need training in recognising and communicating with those in mental health crisis, but there is an urgent need to invest in appropriate mental health services that can prevent such crises or support people through them.”