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.