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Review of Sections 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act

Mental Health - Sadnesssource: Care Quality Commission
first published: 19 December 2014

[On 18 December 2014] the Government published its review of the operation of Sections 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983.

Section 135 of the Act gives police officers powers to enter private premises – with a warrant – to remove a person suspected of being in urgent need of a mental health assessment. Section 136 gives them powers to remove someone from a public place to a ‘place of safety’, where they can be detained for up to 72 hours, pending a mental health assessment.

What changes does the report propose?

The review highlights areas where the use of these sections of the Act is working well, as well as areas that could be improved. Changes proposed by the report include:

  • Outlawing the use of police custody as a place of safety for people under 18 who are detained under the Act.
  • Extending the use of Section 136 to anywhere apart from a person’s home (for example, a railway station).
  • Shortening the length of time a person can be detained under sections 135 and 136.

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