Exploring the Growth in Police Engagement with Those Who Are Mentally Ill and the Developing Use of the Mental Capacity Act as an Alternative to Section 136 of the Mental Health Act

Allyn Thomas, Rachel Forrester-Jones, P Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite efforts of Parliament, the Home Office, police forces and health practitioners, the number of people detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 continues to rise. By analyzing quantitative data from Hampshire Constabulary, this study describes in detail police engagement with the mentally ill. Findings showed how people in mental crisis were increasingly detained by the ambulance service using the Mental Capacity Act and taken to A&E Departments. Nationally, police officers were also found to be increasingly taking Section 136 detainees to A&E. The majority of people contacting Hampshire displayed delusions which were unlikely to result in a police response and may disproportionately account for the overall growth in contact with the police. The data suggest that ‘Triage’ schemes alone will not be effective in reducing detentions. Hampshire’s partnership and discretionary approach is successful in reducing detentions. Recommendations for policy, practice, and further research are provided.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberpaz041
JournalPolicing
Early online date25 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Section 136 Mental Health Act
  • Policing
  • Mentally Ill

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