Review of the operation of Sections 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983: review report and recommendations

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Great Britain. Department of Health; Great Bitain. Home Office
Department of Health
Date of publication
18 December 2014
Mental health services, Legislation
Social welfare
Material type

Download (1.5MB )

Sections 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 give the police powers to temporarily remove people who appear to be suffering from a mental disorder and who need urgent care to a ‘place of safety’, so that a mental health assessment can be carried out and appropriate arrangements made for their care. This review focused on the operation of these sections of the Act in order improve the outcomes for people in mental health crisis who may be detained under these provisions, focusing specifically on S135(1), S135(3)3, S135(6)4, and S136. These outcomes are essentially concerned with ensuring the detained person is assessed in the most appropriate way, with due regard to their needs and dignity. The review considered views from police officers, AMHPs, health professionals, paramedics and ambulance workers, people who have experienced detention under these parts of the Act, and families, carers and the public.

Based on the evidence presented to the review, a number of recommendations are set out below which seek to:

  • significantly reduce the use of police custody as a place of safety;
  • encourage and enable innovation in using alternative places of safety;
  • remove barriers preventing a person in mental health crisis from accessing help wherever they are while protecting human rights and civil liberties;
  • encourage more rapid assessment and to ensure a person is not detained for longer than the minimum time necessary;
  • reduce inappropriate use of S136;
  • improve the operation of S135; and
  • ensure that police, paramedics, AMHPs and health professionals have appropriate powers.

Related to Mental health services

Body image: how we think and feel about our bodies

Report on body image and the associated mental health risks

Engaging with complexity: providing effective trauma informed care for women

This guide provides advice on the impact of trauma on women

More items related to this subject