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Mad, bad or sad: the police overuse of Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983.

Thomas, Allyn (2019) Mad, bad or sad: the police overuse of Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:82384)

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Abstract

Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 provides a power for police officers to detain a person found outside their home, who appears to be mentally ill and who presents a risk of harm to themselves or others. The purpose of this detention is to enable an assessment to be made of their need for further treatment under the other provisions of the Act. The number of detentions under Section 136 have risen 6 to 10 fold in the last 30 years whilst over the same period, the treatment rate following detention has fallen from over 95% to less than 20%. The analysis of public data in this thesis also shows a range of other trends in the police engagement with those who are mentally ill.

Study 3 shows that whilst part of the increase in detentions relates to reductions in available treatment services, a large part also relates to the development of a 'risk averse' culture within policing which encourages officers to detain people under Section 136 to reduce the potential consequences for them of a 'death following police contact'.

Finally, study 4 also shows that the full range of police contacts with those who are mentally ill are not understood, as for every Section 136 type incident there were also eight others which also needed to be managed.

This thesis also includes recommendations for developing policy, practice and research

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Forrester-Jones, Rachel
Thesis advisor: Murphy, Glynis
Uncontrolled keywords: Police, detention, mental illness, Section 136 Mental Health Act 1983,
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2020 11:10 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:14 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/82384 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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