Families of men with mental health issues who died in police custody welcome new report

James Herbert (left) and Thomas Orchard's families have both welcomed the report. Credit: Families

The families of two men with mental health issues who died in police custody has welcomed a report into how vulnerable people should be treated by emergency services.

32-year-old Thomas Orchard died in police custody in Exeter in 2012 and 25-year-old James Herbert died at Yeovil Police Station seven years ago.

The report into deaths in custody was ordered by Theresa May when she was the Home Secretary.

It has stressed mentally ill people should never be held in cells.

Thomas Orchard suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and his family say being held in Exeter's Heavitree Road Police Station made his condition worse.

Before reaching the station Mr Orchard was handcuffed and bundled into a van.

Moments before falling unconscious, a restraint was wrapped around his head.

His mother says more care should have been taken.

Today's report says police practice must recognise any restraint can cause death.

The report also called for officers involved in incidents in police cells to be kept apart so notes cannot be compared.

James Herbert's mother Barbara has welcomed the report's findings.

She says it is now important the findings are properly implemented.

In Parliament tonight ministers said they are determined to reduce deaths in custody.