policing mental health and criminal justice n.
Skip this Video
Download Presentation
Policing, Mental Health and Criminal Justice

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 41

Policing, Mental Health and Criminal Justice - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

Policing, Mental Health and Criminal Justice. Michael Brown Author – MentalHealthCop blog mentalhealthcop.wordpress.com. Section 136 Mental Health Act – place of safety pathways. s136 (1) MHA 1983.

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'Policing, Mental Health and Criminal Justice' - anahid

Download Now An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
policing mental health and criminal justice

Policing, Mental Healthand Criminal Justice

Michael Brown

Author – MentalHealthCop blog


s136 1 mha 1983
s136(1) MHA 1983

If a constable finds in a place to which the public have access a person who appears to be suffering from mental disorder and to be in immediate need of care or control, the constable may, if he thinks it necessary to do so in that person’s interests or for the protection of others, remove that person to a place of safety.

s136 2 mha 1983
s136(2) MHA 1983

A person removed to a place of safety under this section may be detained there for a period not exceeding 72 hours for the purpose of enabling him to be examined by a registered medical practitioner and to be interviewed by an AMHP and of making any necessary arrangements for his treatment or care

section 136
Section 136
  • Can only be started by the police …

… can only be ended by a Doctor / AMHP

  • No-one defines where NHS responsibilities start …

… or where police responsibilities end.

  • Many things MUST be done …

… nothing defines who MUST do them.

catch 22
Catch 22

Loads of myths / folklore – too many

Police lack skills in recognition of mental illness and training in the use of the power.

NHS lack legal knowledge.

Overlaps to acute medical problems

Complications because of substance use / abuse.


myths folklore
Myths & Folklore

You can’t use s136 on someone who is drunk

Children cannot be detained in a PoS run by adult services

Separate provision LD / CAMHS patients

Remove all aggressive / violent patients to the cells.

An Emergency Department is NOT a PoS –

Anywhere can be a PoS!

police use of section 136
Police Use of Section 136
  • Section 136 and criminal offending
  • Specific considerations for alcohol offences

When do you use s136 and when you should prioritise a criminal offence?

“An offence is an offence is an offence, isn’t it?!”

substantive victims
Substantive Victims
  • Prioritise the criminal offence and the victim’s rights, unless –
    • A trivial offence, or actually victimless
    • The victim is not ringing about crime, but about support for the person
    • In all the circumstances, suspected mental health problems are the main issue in play

You can reverse a 136 decision; you can’t reverse an arrest decision.

alcohol offences
Alcohol Offences
  • Avoid the use of s136 where alcohol is involved, unless –

There is objective information, concerning a mental health problem, beyond an officer’s observations.

    • Police records indicating a mental health history
    • Third party information at the scene
    • Broader context from the incident
code of practice 2008

It is important to ensure that a jointly agreed local policy is in place governing all aspects of the use of sections 135 and 136.


identifying and agreeing the most appropriate place of safety in individual cases;

dealing with alcohol or drugs;

dealing with violence;

access to a hospital emergency department, where necessary;

[Para 10.16 & 10.17 CoP MHA]

ipcc research
IPCC Research
  • First review of s136 across England / Wales

18,000 detained under s136 MHA

11,500 detained in the cells.

Over 65% of the total.

  • NHS Figures 2011 / 2012

50 / 50 split– there is a long way still to go.

the s136 problem

Some people arrested under s136 MHA are presenting both clinical and security risks:

CANNOTbe managed by the police alone

CANNOTbe managed by the NHS alone

Including where drugs, alcohol and aggression are involved.

additional considerations
  • ECHR requirements:
    • Article 2 “right to life”
    • Article 3 “inhuman and degrading treatment”
    • Article 5 “right to liberty”
    • Article 8 “privacy and family life”
  • Health & Safety At Work Act 1974
  • Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984
what we need to avoid






red flags on arrest

Arrest under s136 Mental Health Act

Ambulance to EVERY arrest.

Assess for RED FLAGS

RED FLAGS to the Emergency Department

NO RED FLAG to identified PoS provision

Consider improvised alternatives

Police station as last resort.

red flags 1

Dangerous Mechanisms:

Blows to the body

Falls > 4 Feet

Injury from edged weapon or projectile

Throttling / strangulation

Hit by vehicle

Occupant of vehicle in a collision

Ejected from a moving vehicle

Evidence of drug ingestion or overdose

Serious Physical Injuries:

Noisy Breathing

Not Rousable to verbal command

Head injuries

Loss of consciousness at any time

Facial swelling

Bleeding from nose or ears

Deep cuts

Suspected broken bones

red flags 2

Attempting self-harm:

Head banging

Use of edged weapon

(to self-harm)


History of overdose or poisoning

Psychiatric Crisis

Delusions / Hallucinations / Mania

Possible Excited Delirium:

Two or more from:

Serious physical resistance / abnormal strength

High body temperature

Removal of clothing

Profuse sweating or hot skin

Behavioural confusion / coherence

Bizarre behaviour

police support at the pos

Police Officers remain at ED throughout

Joint risk assessment at PoS:

Low: left with PoS

Medium: case by case, on merit

High: ongoing police support

policy authorities 1

Mental Health Act 1983

Code of Practice to the MHA, revised 2008

Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE).

Code of Practice, Code C, to PACE, revised 2008

Human Rights Act 1998

Data Protection Act 1998

policy authorities 2

Royal College of Psychiatry Standards on s136 (2011) & position statement (2013)

Independent Police Complaints Commission of the use of police cells for detentions under s136 (2008)

Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Report on Managing Urgent Mental Health Needs in the Acute Trust (2008)

NICE Guidelines on the Short-term Management of disturbed / violent behaviour (2005).

NICE Guidelines on Self-harm (2004).

NPIA Safer Detention Guidance, NPIA (2006)

NPIA Guidance on Police Responses to People with Mental Ill Health or learning disabilities (2010)

Home Office Circular 17/2004

Home Office Circular 66/1990

R v Ashworth Hospital Authority (2005), House of Lords.


rave risks
RAVE Risks

R - resistance

A - aggression

V - violence

E - escape

s6 1 mha 1983
s6(1) MHA 1983

An application for the admission of a patient to a hospital under this Part of this Act, duly completed in accordance with the provisions of this Part of this Act, shall be sufficient authority for the applicant, or any person authorised by the applicant, to take the patient and convey him to the hospital.

delegated authorities

Duty on CCGs to ensure effective arrangements for transportation of patients.

Danger of the expedience argument

Coroners’ Rule 43 letters, following inquests

IPCC and ACPO reservations

No ability to compel the police to accept s6 authorities!

the legal duty of ccgs

Para 11.6 MHA CoP – “It is for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to commission ambulance and patient transport services to meet the needs of their areas. This includes services for transporting patients to and from hospital (and other places) under the Act.”

Para 11.10 MHA CoP – “It is essential to have clear agreements in place so that people who need assistance in conveying patients under the Act can secure it without delay. Authorities, including NHS bodies responsible for hospitals, ambulance services and the police, should agree joint local policies and procedures.”

stuck in the middle

Para 11.11 MHA CoP – “Policies should ensure that AMHPs (in particular) are not left to negotiate arrangements with providers of transport services on an ad hoc basis, in the absence of clear expectations about the responsibilities of all those involved.”

Para 11.16 MHA CoP – “AMHPs should make decisions on which method of transport to use in consultation with the other professionals involved, the patient and (as appropriate) their carer, family or other supporters. “

police support

Para 11.17 MHA CoP – “If the patient is likely to be unwilling to be moved, the applicant should provide the people who are to convey the patient (including any ambulance staff or police officers involved) with authority to convey the patient.”

Para 11.18 MHA CoP – “If patient’s behaviour is likely to be violent or dangerous, the police should be asked to assist in accordance with locally agreed arrangements. Where practicable, given the risk involved, an ambulance service (or similar) vehicle should be used even where the police are assisting.”

ambulance support

Para 11.19 MHA CoP – “The locally agreed arrangements should set out what assistance the police will provide to AMHPs and health services in transporting patients safely, and what support ambulance or other health services will be expected to provide where patients are, exceptionally, transported in police vehicles.

Para 11.20 MHA CoP – “Where it is necessary to use a police vehicle, it may be necessary for the highest qualified member of an ambulance crew to ride in the same vehicle with the patient, with the appropriate equipment to deal with immediate problems. In such cases, the ambulance should follow directly behind to provide any further support.”

recovery of awol patients
  • Para 22.13 MHA CoP – “The police should be asked to assist in returning a patient to hospital only if necessary. If the patient’s location is known, the role of the police should, wherever possible, be only to assist a suitably qualified and experienced mental health professional in returning the patient to hospital.”


awol patients
  • Re-detention of an AWOL patient should be treated like a first detention under s136 MHA –
    • Arrest > Ambulance > Assess
    • Any RED FLAGS to A&E;
    • Otherwise return to the original hospital.
    • No explicit power to hold in custody.
recalled cto patients
  • Re-detention of a CTO patient is the re-detention of an AWOL patient and should be regarded as such –
    • Arrest > Ambulance > Assess
    • Any RED FLAGS to A&E;
    • Otherwise return to the original hospital.
    • No explicit power to hold in custody.
prevalence in custody
  • Police identification = 12-15%
  • Nurse identification = 15-18%
  • NHS information suggests = 40-50%
de facto diversion
  • The single variable which influences diversion from justice –
    • Whether the detainee is “sectionable” under the MHA ‘83
custody records

10,000 custody records

1,076 MH was queried > FME

512 FME > MHA assessment

415 FME said ‘proceed as normal’

– may as well not be ill.



x9 Section 3 MHA

x76 Section 2 MHA

x12 Informal / voluntary

Non-Diversion: ‘business as normal’

  • Offences prosecuted when suspect is ‘sectionable’ under the MHA:


  • Offences remaining subject to bail when the suspect is ‘sectionable’ under the MHA:



mentalhealthcop.wordpress.comtwitter – twitter.com/mentalhealthcopfacebook – facebook.com/mentalhealthcopscoop it – scoop.it/t/policing-mental-health-and-criminal-justice