- 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
- To determine whether or not someone lacks capacity the “ID A CURE” Test can be applied –
- Impairment – is there an impairment (temporary or permanent) which prevents the person from being able to ‘CURE’, as below; OR
- Disturbance – is there a disturbance of the mind (temporary or permanent) which prevents the person from being able to ‘CURE’, as below;
- AND – just one of the follow factors then need be absent for the person to lack capacity
- Communicate – can the person communicate their decision to you (even if not verbally)?
- Understand – can the person understand the information that would enable them to make the decision?
- Retain – can the person retain the information in order to make the decision?
- Employ – can the person employ the information to make the decision effectively?
- SUBSEQUENT ACTION
- If action involves removal to a healthcare facility, either a psychiatric unit or an Accident & Emergency department, ensure that NHS staff are made aware that the Mental Capacity Act has been applied.
- Inform your sergeant that this action has been taken so they can support your actions / decisions.
- LEGAL REMINDERS
- Determine capacity with reference to the test in s2 MCA – not a scientific assessment, just a considered decision.
- Whether someone can take a decision is determined by the approach in s3 MCA.
- Undertake proportionate acts to safeguard someone’s best interests (understood from s4 MCA), in accordance with the principles in s1 MCA.
- According to s4A MCA no-one is authorised to deprive another person of their liberty, unless it is a s4B MCA response to the need for life-sustaining treatment or to prevent a serious deterioration in their condition.
- Officers are then protected from liabilities by virtue of s5 MCA, as long as they acted in the best interests of someone they believed lacked capacity.
- Any ‘restraint’ must be done in accordance with s6 MCA.
- See a more comprehensive post on the Mental Capacity Act for the police.
- See a link the fully explains the urgent deprivation of liberty / urgent restraint laws.
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.