The Reference Resources

It’s really gratifying to receive emails via the blog from front-line staff in various agencies seeking confirmation of legal issues, views on incidents and so on.  It’s great that people want to discuss and reflect, or to enhance their learning but can I admit to being a little restricted in my capacity to answer the queries I get?!  As well as being a front-line, 24/7 police officer, I’m married man with a family and am newly obsessed by endurance-cycling and I’m no longer posted to work on this area of policing.

The whole point behind creating a blog 10yrs ago was to address the questions I was regularly asked and put the answers and various resources on to a free-to-access, publicly available platform so people from any profession or background can access it for themselves whenever they need it.  There are now over 800 published articles on all the topics I can think of, as well as on various specific incidents in the public domain and court cases of various kinds.

Putting links to this stuff on a website means I can focus on my job, my work-life balance and recently my own health through my ever-evolving obsession with cycling stupid distances in the fresh-air.


I submit that +99% of whatever you might need from me is probably covered on this site —

  • HOW TO USE THE BLOG – you can search this thing, almost like using Google: sections of the Acts, particular terms or names (for examples of cases or inquiries), etc.. This links shows how you do that.
  • The Quick Guides – pages which summarise the objectives, legalities and considerations in fewer than 300 words, bullet point style and they’ve been updated and refreshed during 2020.
  • Case Law: the Top Ten – the ten most important specific cases which have appeared before the (UK and European) courts, on policing and mental health. This pages summarises each in a paragraph and gives you a link to the actual court ruling.
  • A Dozen Little Details – particular references from the Code of Practice to the Mental Health Act (England, 2015) which help reinforce the point about certain practices to which the police become connected.
  • The Paramedic Series – pages written for our colleagues in green and something to signpost them to, if needed. You and they may find the pages on the Mental Capacity Act useful in situations where it is under debate.
  • Knowledge Check – this just boils it all down the the most basic, most essential things I’d hope police officers would know. Test yourself and see whether you’ve got these basics nailed down in your head!
  • Not Quite an App – this whole website is just done on free blogging software and I can’t afford a grand for an App!  This post shows you how to create something that almost amounts to the same thing, on any smartphone so you’ve always got this sort of stuff at your fingertips, if that’s how you want to use it.
  • CPS Prosecution Guidance (Victims with mental health conditions) – considerations around the evidence of vulnerable victims and witness, arising from their mental health.
  • CPS Prosecution Guidance (Suspects with mental health conditions) – guidance on evidence and information relating to vulnerable suspects, and in particular the concept of ‘capacity’.


If you really do want to fill your boots with this stuff and do the background and wider reading, there are some other pages you can use to access a load of reading materials, quickly and easily.

  • College of Policing Authorised Professional Practice on Mental Health (2016) – official guidance to the police service on policing and mental health.
  • The Big Reports – all the major inquiries, reports and reviews from the last decade or more, hyperlinked on one page for your convenience.
  • The ‘Big Report’s page also contains annual reviews of the MHA (England and Wales) and importantly, it contains links to various clinical guidelines on acute, mental health emergencies, restraint and policies on prosecution.
  • It also contains links to IOPC reports on deaths in police custody or following contact.

And if you’re really going to go large on this stuff, you might want to start reading other books on the wider topics:

Note of caution: go to a library and borrow them: otherwise you’ll bankrupt your family! –

  • Mental Health and Crime, by Professor Jill PEAY (2010)
  • Our Necessary Shadow, by Professor Tom BURNS (2014)
  • Doctoring in the Mind by Professor Richard BENTALL (2010)
  • A Sociology of Mental Health and Illness by Professor Anne ROGERS and David PILGRIM (2014)
  • Mental Health Law: policy and practice by Professors Peter BARTLETT and Ralph SANDLAND (2014).
  • The Mental Health Act Manual by Professor Richard JONES (22nd edition, 2020)
  • Mental Health Law by Rt Hon Lady Hale (2018)

Winner of the President’s Medal,
the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Winner of the Mind Digital Media Award


All opinions expressed are my own – they do not represent the views of any organisation.
(c) Michael Brown OBE, 2021

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 –