My healthcare, and that of my family and friends, is absolutely none of your business. None whatsoever, with all due respect! Yours is none of mine and I’m only professionally interested in a very limited and particular way.
I’ve been asked a few times whether I’m interested in this area of policing because I have personal experience of mental health problems, or perhaps via a good friend or relative? That’s none of your business, as I’ve said. This reply should not be used to construe that the answer is ‘Yes’ and that I’m trotting out privacy rights in order to avoid revealing things. To be honest, I’m trotting out my privacy rights (and those of my friends and relatives) just because I can and because it’s up to me whether I reveal things about my or their health. I’m afraid, I’m a bit like that – private, contrarian and rather fond of my rights as well as being very content with the attendant obligations that always accompany rights. It’s my decision what I choose to reveal about my healthcare and it’s not for...
Last week, Professor Sir Simon Wessely published his interim report after being asked in 2017 by the Prime Minister to look at the Mental Health Act 1983. A lot of people have been interested in this since the moment it was announced – a lot of people have a vested interested in this, full stop. It’s important stuff and I don’t think I under-estimate things when I say that the state of our mental health law partly characterises us as a country, because it speaks to how we see ourselves looking after some of the most complex and most vulnerable people, at their most difficult time. By Christmas we’ll have absorbed what Sir Simon is putting forward as his final recommendations.
A review of what we’ve got raises some of the most fundamental questions: when, if ever, should the state take away someone’s autonomy and, potentially their feelings of dignity and self-respect? When, if ever, should we force people to receive treatments against their will – including treatments where even psychiatrists themselves are unable to agree...
At 10am on 01st May, the interim report of Professor Sir Simon Wessely’s review of the Mental Health ACt 1983, commissioned by the Prime Minister in late 2017, will be published.
If you check the UK Government website after 10am on 01st May, you will be able to access a copy of the report. I had a copy of this report last week and for what it’s worth, I think it’s as good as I hoped it could be for an interim update and I’m pleased to see the police role in our mental health system highlighted as it is, especially given the review’s observations about how that role has become what it is.
This very short post is just to provide the link to it – I will blog on this later once the report is public and I’m freer to say more.
Winner of the President’s Medal from
the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
My esteemed blogging colleague the Masked AMHP has, in his latest post, addressed the question of whether AMHPs are an emergency service, rightly pointing out that a range of situations lead to demands that AMHPs suddenly jump in to action with their A5 hardback diaries, lanyards and well-thumbed copies of Jones to detain the vulnerable. I’ve enjoyed learning from many AMHPs over the years, our Masked blogger included, but I want to disagree with certain things in his latest post, in the spirit of inter-agency debate. I recommend you read the post first and that you become a regular reader of the Masked AMHP blog as it shines light on a role that many of us still don’t fully understand, including other mental health professionals, on occasion. At least we, in the police, have some better excuses for any ignorance we may display!
The point is correctly made that AMHPs are not, in fact, an emergency service. Whenever an AMHP is called upon to act in that capacity, they can rarely do so alone and without reference to context. AMHPs may apply to...
Policing is not the problem here: the extent to which we rely upon policing – that’s the problem. This doesn’t not mean the police have no role to play, that the police are perfect and that we should never rely on them to act as society’s safety net. Sometimes it is inevitable the police will be the first point of contact for someone in mental health crisis and we are right to expect officers and their organisations to be competent in ensuring immediate safety and appropriate referral to relevant forms of assessment and support. Nor does my argument mean that what the police know about mental health issues in our society is irrelevant and uninformed: the police see things that are outside the norm and we know like no others what it’s like to be that safety net. This gives us an insight in to how mental health issues operate in society that is different. If you doubt this, look at the number of people who
Here are my thoughts, in summary: the detail is elsewhere on this BLOG across countless posts –
This is an opportunity to comment upon a draft strategy for policing and mental health, which is being put together by Chief Constable Mark Collins, the National Police Chiefs Council lead on mental health.
Please feel free to distribute this public document around as you see fit, including on social media or within any organisation to which you are connected if they may have an interest.
In addition to circulating this formally to partners and encouraging even further circulation by them, we are putting this out on social media as the quickest way of securing broader public feedback and in order to distribute it as widely as possible to frontline professionals in policing and other public sector agencies who might not see it through official channels.
A few explanations of the document which is linked below –
It is just a plain text format word document – the final edition will be a colour document that looks much more professional that this. Feedback is requested on the actual content.
It was being asked again last night, in the AMHP social media world as to whether Britain had run out of inpatient psychiatric beds. Obviously a difficult night to go out AMHPing, at least in some parts of the country. Over the last two weeks, I think I’ve been asked about four different scenarios where a massive bed hunt was going nowhere fast, three of them related to the detention of children. In some of those cases, detention by the police under s136 led to a fairly quick assessment of the person detained and for a decision to admit to be easily reached: only for it to then be made known that the relevant kind of bed for that patient is at least six days away. There have been other examples prior to this recent flurry, of course: it does tend to suggest we’ve got proper problems.
Where things get really difficult, there has been an increasing practice for mental health services to use the place of safety room itself as an improvised ‘bed’. ANd before I go any further at all, I want to point out this is not an example of me choosing to...
I said about eighteen months ago, that once the Mental Health Act was amended to unambiguously allow the use of s136 of the Act in any place that was not someone’s home, we’d see police officers considering its application in police custody areas, for a range of reasons. This post is mainly for police officers and mental health professionals working in or around police custody during criminal investigation. If others want to understand some of the legal issues within the post, see some of the other resources on the BLOG to understand the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) or the amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983.
This post is about when, if ever, a criminal suspect should be released from detention whilst under investigation, in order to be diverted to the mental health system. There are two scenarios I have in mind, broadly speaking –
A way of safeguarding someone who suddenly and unexpectedly indicates an intention to end their life just as they are being released from custody as part of an ongoing...
Short post mainly for those ranking officers who have statutory roles to play under the revised Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) provisions which focus on those rare occasions where custody is still used as a Place of Safety under the Act. This is just bringing together a few of the issues which have emerged during the few months since December. It might be worth the custody officers in particular saving this link to your desktops in custody: it is the Mental Health Act (Place of Safety) Regulations 2017, issued under the MHA.
The big thing to be wary of before we even get to ongoing supervision and care in custody which is something for both the duty inspector and the custody sergeant to think about: whether the presentation the detaining officers are describing has been sufficiently triaged by NHS staff to rule out the need for A&E assessment or treatment shortly after detention. It’s all very well those criteria in Regulation 2 being satisfied to allow the use of a police station, but what if that presentation is also consistent...
I woke up this morning to a tag on Twitter from Australia drawing my attention to questions being asked following an encounter between Victoria Police in Melbourne and a mentally vulnerable man referred to as ‘John’. Police officers had been requested to undertake a ‘welfare check’ by a psychologist who was concerned about John’s mental health. In the link that follows, there are various short video clips and extended footage from security cameras at the front of John’s property which show a use of force incident. It involves some footage that may prove difficult to watch, so please consider whether or not you open the link. The debate obviously focusses on the use of force by the officers, as well as the fact they have hosed down a handcuffed man whilst filming it. Accepting that there appears to have been an investigation launched, that no CCTV footage of any incident shows all that one would want to know to form a judgement about how things were handled, it does seem fair to say, even at this early stage, that it would be...