This should cover most Frequently Asked Questions, linking you to the particular blog post which should help answer it.


If anyone wants anything else answered, please email me on mentalhealthcop@live.co.uk:


  • A offender in custody has been ‘sectioned’ but it’s a serious offencewhat do we do?
  • We’re at a job in a private place where someone is threatening suicidewhat can we do?


  • <  More to follow shortly. >
  • I see so many different ranks of police officer and I don’t know who is in charge! – what does it all mean?

IMG_0053IMG_0052Winner of the President’s Medal from
the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Winner of the Mind Digital Media Award.


3 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. On mental capacity the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice is a useful starting point http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/protecting-the-vulnerable/mca/mca-code-practice-0509.pdf

    The Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice defines the lack of capacity as follows:’ Section 2(1) of the Act states:
    ‘For the purposes of this Act, a person lacks capacity in relation to a matter if at the material time he is unable to make a decision for himself in relation to the matter because of an impairment of, or a disturbance in the functioning of, the mind or brain.’’ (4.3).

    All decisions relating to capacity are decision specific. They are not defined as ‘lacking capacity’ but lack the capacity to make a particular defined decision at a particular point in time (although of course this can be ongoing it needs to be continually reassessed). Such decisions can be small day to day decisions or major decisions, such as about major health treatment and finances.

    Assessors should take heed of the five statutory principles (See 2 p19 MCA Cop). Capacity should be assumed at first, people should be aided to make decisions where possible, people should be allowed to make unwise decisions, any decision made on person’s behalf should be in best interests and least restrictive option always used.

    Assessing Mental Capacity is outlined in chapter 4 of Code – See summary page 40-41 . Particularly relevant is individual’s ability to understand a decision and its consequences and to communicate their decision – are they able to understand, retain, use and weigh up the information relevant to the decision?

    Best interests is not clearly defined (see chap 5 of Code) – Establishing best interests, for example, involves identifying all relevant circumstances, finding out person’s views (eg past views, values), encouraging participation, avoiding discrimination.

    So to decide capacity you would need to establish ‘disturbance in the functioning of, the mind or brain’ – You would need to identify the decision that needs to be made. you would assume capacity and seek to help the person make the decision. You would be clear it is not just an unwise decision. You would seek to determine their ability to understand, retain, use and weigh up information relevant to the decision – do they understand the decision and its consequences – are they able to communicate this? In making a decision in their ‘best interests’ you would seek to make the decision taking into account their circumstances, as you are able to determine them through various means.

    Generally though capacity is often a grey area – people may have partial capacity. I have left a lot out (and take no responsibility for any errors or omissions!). Best to refer to Code of Practice.

  2. I am a mental health patient who has had a very bad experience with the police where I nearly died. I have made a complaint but have had, as of yet, no response from the senior officer to whom I contacted.
    I have been asked to address Lord Adebowale’s committee which is looking at the interaction of the mentally ill and the police.
    Please could you let me know if you could help me. Or at least hear my story.

    Many thanks for your time.
    You’re doing a great job:)


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