- This guide is an attempt to “operationalise” complex issues and you should refer to your area’s policy and your supervisors for specific local requirements.
- INITIAL ACTION
- Call an ambulance to EVERY arrest made
- Remove anyone displaying a RED FLAG to the nearest A&E department
- Remove everyone else to the NHS place of safety in your area.
- Use a police station only as a last resort, if you cannot improvise any other alternative solution and only where the statutory criteria are satisfied.
- Alternative solutions could include a domestic address – their’s, a relative’s or friend’s – if it were assessed as a safe and appropriate setting.
- Use of private residences requires the consent of the person detained AND anyone else who lives at the specific address.
- SUBSEQUENT ACTION
- Call the Approved Mental Health Professional yourself and take their name;
- Call the Registered Medical Practitioner if the person you detained did end up in the cell block.
- Constantly re-assess for RED FLAGS whilst the person remains detained under s136 and in contact with the police.
- Remove to A&E if any RED FLAG emerges at any stage.
- Once the patient is received, consider whether You Should Stay or You Should Go
- LEGAL REMINDERS
- Where the police remove someone to after arrest is, ultimately, a matter for the police.
- Local protocols are important, but only binding if they actually deliver legal outcomes.
- Paragraph 16.38 MHA CoP states, “A police station should not be assumed to be the automatic second choice if the first choice is not available. Other options should also be considered.”
- Paragraph 16.58 MHA CoP states, “a person should never be moved from one place of safety to another unless it has been confirmed that the new place of safety is willing and able to accept them.”
- NHS preferences not to deliver upon their own guidelines and Codes of Practice ARE NOT sufficient grounds to ignore legal frameworks.
- Ensuring that you have attempted to secure the right kind of assessment and care; or the nearest available thing, is important to demonstrating a discharged duty of care.
- Doing what we all know to be the wrong thing, will not be defendable with “But the NHS would not / could not …”
- MORE MATERIALS ON ALL ASPECTS OF S136 AND PLACES OF SAFETY
- More detailed guidance on how to act before / during / after s136 detention.
Winner of the President’s Medal,
the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Winner of the Mind Digital Media Award
All views expressed are my own – they do not represent the views of any organisation.
(c) Michael Brown, 2019
I try to keep this blog up to date, but inevitably over time, amendments to the law as well as court rulings and other findings from inquests and complaints processes mean it is difficult to ensure all the articles and pages remain current. Please ensure you check all legal issues in particular and take appropriate professional advice where necessary.
Government legislation website – http://www.legislation.gov.uk