New Policing and Crime Bill

Whilst the primary purpose of the Policing and Crime Bill published on 11th February is to “enhance the democratic accountability of police forces and fire and rescue services, improve the efficiency and effectiveness of emergency services through closer collaboration and build public confidence in policing”, of interest to ASB practitioners will be proposals to:

“Stop children and young people under 18 experiencing a mental health crisis being detained in police custody – and restricting the circumstances when adults can be taken to police stations – by reforming police powers under sections 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983”.

Mental health is again in the news primarily due to the lack of adequate NHS funding but increasingly we hear about people with mental health issues allegedly being detained unnecessarily. The Bill proposes the amendment of police powers under sections 135 and 136 of the 1983 Act in respect of persons who “are experiencing mental health problems, but have committed no crime and to further reduce the use of police stations as a place of safety by providing that they can never be used in the case of under 18s, and making provision for their use to be restricted to exceptional circumstances in the case of adults”.

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