Last week I published a post on an idea I’ve had for a while – an Emergency Mental Health Law course. I was really delighted by the response from the full range of professionals at whom the idea was aimed and I’ve also been contacted by some academics and senior people expressing interest in the idea and potentially thinking of what might be done to realise it.
I’d now like to ask for help —– I have started fleshing out some ideas of what such a course may involve in terms of legal issues. But obviously, this is just one policeman’s view and if such a course is going to be useful to those in other professions I’d need a wider viewpoint!
In particular, I want to know what those of us who use mental health services think – what is it about issues around mental health law in urgent or emergency situations that you think professionals need to know? Perhaps based on experiences of where things were well handled or where it could have been better.
Remember(!), the point here is not just about issues a particular professional would want to know (more) about – it is also about coverage of issues affecting all the relevant professionals that you think others need to know about. This is about attempting to achieving greater consensus about the law, as well as an enhanced understanding of it.
So the following ideas are outlines and initial thoughts only – I think I’ve spent about fifteen minutes putting this together (whilst watching tennis!) and I’d like any comments you have in the comments section below.
- Principles of emergency mental health law – human rights, health & safety, least restrictive principles, etc.. Section 1 MHA.
- Emergency detention – s136 MHA, s135(1) warrants, s18 AWOL patients inc revocations and recalls of CTO and s42 patients. Definition of a “place of safety”.
- Entry and Inspection – warrants under s135(1) and s135(2) MHA, s17 PACE, s115 MHA
- Mental Health Act admissions – informal patients, s2, s3, s4 and s5; planning, preparation, s6 MHA, s135(1) warrants
- Urgent deprivation of liberty – emergency application of the Mental Capacity Act
- Obstruction and the Criminal Law – obstructions offences against police, AMHPs and emergency services; other offences under the Mental Health Act; offences of wilful neglect and misconduct in public office.
- Liaison and Diversion – assessment in police custody; prosecution decisions and links to MHA admission. Use of police bail during MHA admission.
- Codes of Practice – to the Mental Health Act (England / Wales) and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act
I’m sure there will be additional details that occur and contribution of your ideas is welcome below as well as feedback on whether I’m missing anything huge and obvious! If I am, I was writing this whilst watching MURRAY v FEDERER and will be sticking to that excuse!
Let me know your thoughts.
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