Essay on Police Station Should Be Considered A Place Of Safety

1322 Words May 11th, 2015 null Page
Place of safety

Section 136 states that once an arrest has been made police must assist the individual to a place of safety (Mental Health Act 1983, s. 136 (1)). To ensure the safety of the individual and the public, until an assessment can be conducted and future treatment has been decided upon (House of Commons 2015). A place of safety, is defined by law, as residential accommodation provided by a local authority (Lynch et al 2002; Borschmann et al 2010), such as: A&E departments, police stations and psychiatric units (Lynch et al 2002). However, it is debated whether a police station should be considered as a place of safety (House of Commons 2015). As, when an individual is detained in custody, the police are expected to become untrained psychiatrists (Costen and Milen 1999). Nonetheless, the Code of Practice Mental Health Act 1983 (2008) states that police stations should only be used as a place of safety in exceptional circumstances. Yet, research and inspection work have consistently found that police cells are becoming the regular provision of a place of safety for the mentally disturbed (HMIC 2013); and more often than is used as the first choice (HMIC 2013). However, the Home Office (2014) disputes this claiming that in the year 2012/13, 6,028 section 136 detentions were held in police custody, compared to 17,008 detained in hospital.
Furthermore, researchers argue that the length of detention is excessive, and can lead the individual feeling criminalised,…

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