Mental Health Act Legislative Changes Dec 2017 There have been some legislative changes for the Mental Health Act as of 11.12.17. Changes have been introduced by the Policing and Crime Act sections 80-83. These changes are designed to ensure that police officers are able to act more quickly and flexibly, whilst ensuring a person receive assessments and care when they need it. Section 136 powers may be exercised anywhere in a public setting (also known as Private dwelling) i.e : Railway lines, rooftops and offices (these have previously not been seen as public places i.e – Police cannot be exercised section 136 rights in 1. Any house, flat or room where a person lives 2. Any yard, garden, garage or outhouse that is used in connection with the house It is UNLAWFUL to use a police station as a place of safety for anyone under the age of 18 in any circumstances A police station can only be used as a safe place of safety for adults in specific circumstances (section 136A) – this will also allow regular provisions, and increase safeguards for when a police station is used Previously you could hold a person in a safe place for 72hours – this is being changed to 24 hours (unless a doctor certifies that an extension of up to 12 hours is necessary). This will start from when a person arrives at a safe place / or when a police officer’s enters a property and is keeping a person there Before 136 power is used a police officer must/ have a duty to where practicable consult a health professional Where section 135 warrant has been executed – a person can be kept at their home for the purposes of an assessment rather than being removed to another place of safety A new search power will allow police officers to search persons subject to section 135 or 136 powers for protective purposes. (Section 136c) – have to have reasonable grounds that a person is a danger to themselves, or others, or is concealing an item. To view the MHA in full, click here.