- 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.
- INITIAL ACTION
- Call an ambulance to EVERY detention 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 – it is not a place of safety – and only if you cannot improvise any other alternative, acceptable solution.
- 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.
- SUBSEQUENT ACTION
- Call the Mental Health Officer yourself and take their name.
- Call the Registered Medical Practioner if the person you detained did end up in the cell block.
- Constantly re-assess for RED FLAGS whilst the person remains detained under s297 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 detention is, ultimately, a matter for the police.
- Local protocols are important, but only binding if they actually deliver legal outcomes.
- 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 s297 AND PLACES OF SAFETY
- More detailed guidance on how to act before / during / after s297 detention.
I want to place on record my thanks to Sgt Andy WILSON and PC Fiona WILSON from Police Scotland for proof reading these posts on Scottish mental health law and offering suggestions that translate my English efforts over the border. #teamtayside
The Mental Health Cop blog
– won 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
– 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.