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Mental Health Act – Every 2 Minutes Police take a call

Following a recent article in the Daily Telegraph, our Senior Associate and Head of Mental Health department Umar Kankiya explains his thoughts:

Today the police watchdog published a report highlighting that the number of people being detained under the Mental Health Act, as a result of police intervention, has gone up. The numbers make for stark reading as outlined in an article published today by the daily Telegraph with the amount of people being detained under section 136 having increased considerably over the past couple of years.

Section 136 Mental health Act

  – 52% of people detained under the Mental Health Act have had to be put in a place of safety by police.

In these times when there has been huge cuts across the board, an increase such as this puts a huge stretch on resources. It results in making it even more difficult for police to respond to other matters that arise.

It is correct however, that police should respond to those in a mental health crisis. A lot of times a place of safety is required and section 136 of the Mental Health Act allows for this.

Far more needs to be done to invest in community services.


By investing more in these, better resourced community teams would be in a much better place to work in collaboration with the police. This would ensure that those with mental health issues are well supported at times of crises. Most importantly though, by helping before it gets to the point whereby the police are involved, resources are not stretched further.

The government should look at successful projects in Essex – with the Mental Health Triage team or in Norfolk with their specialist place of safety in Norwich and Kings Lynn which shows how working in collaboration with the police can lessen the need for the use of police cells. Providing a better way to manage those in crisis at their biggest time of need.

Umar Kankiya is Head of Mental Health Department here at Sternberg Reed, specialising in all aspects of the Mental Health Act. If you want to find out more and see how Umar and Sternberg Reed could help you, click HERE

Or call us on 0208 591 3366

This article does not constitute legal advice and you should contact us directly if you are facing a similar situation. To read the full article in the Daily Telegraph, follow this LINK

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* Soulla Kokkinos, Andrew Crossley,  Julian Beard, Francecsa Clay.