Quick Guide – Offenders

  • This quick guide is an attempt to “operationalise” some complex issues but you should refer to your own force policy and your supervisors for specific local requirements.
  • This guidance applies to both “inpatient” offences AND offences committed in the community.
  • Preserve evidence for offences in the normal way – witnesses, CCTV, forensic, etc..
  • Do not immediately assume that it is not in the public interest to invesitgate or prosecute
  • Gather as much background information about mental ill health as possible, especially if it is possible to contact a mental health professional with knowledge of the suspect
  • Get medical opinion about whether the suspect can be interviewed.
  • Inpatient offences – formally request background information listed here:
  • Once decided whether to interview / section:
  • Fit to be interviewed – appropriate adult, interview, weigh evidence: disposal decision.
  • NOT fit to be interviewed – Mental Health Act assessment, await outcome.
  • Once decided whether to ‘section’ under the MHA:
  • No section – appropriate adult, interview, weigh evidence: disposal decision.
  • Section (minor offence) – consider ‘diversion’ without charge; and / or caution, warning or local resolution of the offence.
  • Section (serious offence / risk) – take background information to CPS for consideration of charge and Part III MHA application to court.
  • Insanity is a defence, for the defendant to raise:
  • “Every man is presumed to be sane and possess a sufficient degree of reason to be held responsible for his actions.”
  • It IS legally possible to arrest someone who is already sectioned under the MHA
  • It is sometimes necessary to prosecute people who are mentally ill in order to secure opportunities available under Part III MHA.

The Mental Health Cop blog

Badgewon the ConnectedCOPS ‘Top Cop’ Award for leveraging social media in policing.
won the Digital Media Award from the UK’s leading mental health charity, Mind
– won a World of Mentalists #TWIMAward for the best in mental health blogs

ccawards2013 was highlighted by the Independent Commission on Policing & Mental Health
– was referenced in the UK Parliamentary debate on Policing & Mental Health
was commended by the Home Affairs Select Committee of the UK Parliament.



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