Nearly half of all people who appear to have committed suicide after being released by police were known to be mentally ill, a watchdog has warned.

Eighteen of the 39 people who took their lives after they were released from police custody last year were reported to have mental health issues, said the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Dame Anne Owers, the watchdog's chairman, called for a "co-ordinated response to protecting this vulnerable group". She said each death had to be robustly examined and any lessons learnt.