It seems that itâ€™s been the week for Scottish mental health patients to journey to England, in a variety of legal situations that have subsequently confused the life out of police and mental health professionals alike. Â So we had the incident the other day about a Compulsory Treatment Order patient who turned up in the Midlands and today Iâ€™ve had a call about a Short-Term Detention patient who turned up on the south coast. Â The first confused the life out of the local police; the second confused the life out of the A&E department. Â These things being as they are: Iâ€™m expecting the third incident any time now to complete the set and Iâ€™ll just bet it has a twist or angle that Iâ€™m not about to cover here!
OK â€¦ two incidents is not that many, but itâ€™s not the first time Iâ€™ve had a batch of â€˜Scottish AWOLâ€™ queries so I thought Iâ€™d best cover the topic in one post. Â First things first: abbrevations to make this easier to both write and read! â€”
Your legislative resources â€”
MAIN DETENTION PROVISIONS â€“ SCOTLAND
Here is a list of the three main detention â€˜civilâ€™ provisions under the MHA(S) â€”
AWOL FROM SCOTLAND
Firstly, AWOL is the English and Welsh term, under the MHA(E) â€“ in Scotland they refer in law to â€˜abscondersâ€™. Â Sections 301-303 cover the powers to re-detain Scottish mental health patients who have absconded from the above provisions and are still in Scotland.
Still following?! â€¦ not long to go now!! â€“ once youâ€™ve confirmed that the person has absconded from one of those provisions (ss36, 44, 64 or 65), or that an RMO has authorised detention of a CTO patient under ss114 or s115, then s303 would apply if theyâ€™d been encountered in Scotland so any police officer in England, Wales or Northern Ireland may take that person in to custody and return them to Scotland. This is made clear in Article 8 of the MHA(S) Consequential Provisions Order 2005. Such patients may also be taken in to custody by an AMHP in England / Wales or an ASW in Northern Ireland. To conclude this all with a little known fact: it is expressly into s135(2) of the MHA(E)Â and in to a129(2) MHO(NI) that a warrant may be granted by a Magistrate in connection with the need to exercise detention under Article 8 for a Scottish patient who has absconded to any other part of the UK. If you ever have that situation in the real world, I advise you to take a written copy of the MHA(E) / MHO(NI) to place under the nose of the court clerk or Justice of the Peace becasue Iâ€™m guessing they might say, â€œEh?!â€ or simply not believe itâ€™s a thing!
There you go! â€“ all done. Â Howâ€™s your headache?!
Winner of the Presidentâ€™sMedal from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
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