Quick Guide (Northern Ireland) – a130 Mental Health Order 1986

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Call the Approved Social Worker yourself and take their name
  • Call the Registered Medical Practioner if the person if 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
  • Where the police remove someon to after arrest 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 …”

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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