"I find this practice degrading, criminalising and outdated"

About: Coventry And Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust

(as the patient),

In September 2010 I was detained by Coventry police under section 136 of MHA 1983. I was handcuffed by police officer then taken to and detained in police custodial unit for over 7 hours pending mental health assessment by local mental health team.

Post mental health assessment I returned to my residential address exhausted feeling humiliated degraded and criminalised and significantly more traumatised and mentally ill then prior to section 136 detention process.

I am a female mental health service user, since 2006 I have been detained ( under the act ) several times, for reasons of mental illness not crime. I find the practice of being locked in a police cell while awaiting mental health assessment by local mental health team degrading, criminalising and outdated.

Coventry mental health commissioning services urgently need to fund establishment of a "safe place" (clinically staffed assessment unit) within hospital environment for use of individuals subject to section 136 of mental health act 1983.

National guidelines published in 2008 list a code of practice for police officers / NHS trusts to adhere to whilst detaining individuals under section 136 of mental health act 1983.

Standards on the use of section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 were published 29 September 2008. This report clarified police should only use police custodial unit as "safe place" to hold people detained under section 136 of MHA 1983 "in exceptional circumstances" pending mental health assessment.

The police may implement section 136 MHA 1983 if a police officer considers a person to be at risk of self harm or harm to others.

Across the UK Department of Health put 140 million pounds money into building of assessment suites and it appears most police forces including near by Birmingham area have access to such a facility.

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We are looking into the issues you have raised and will post a response as soon as possible. If you need any assistance in the meantime please feel free to contact the Customer Services Department on 02476 536804

Response from Karen Simmonds, Head of Service User & Carer Experience, C&W PARTNERSHIP TRUST

I am sorry to hear of your distress following your recent experience of being detained by the Police for an assessment. I have looked into the issue you raise and can advise you that it is the reponsibility of mental health commissioners for NHS Coventry and NHS Warwickshire to develop a place of safety.

At the moment we are not commissioned to provide a place of safety but, are currently working with commissioners to address this so that a place, such as the one you describe can be provided in the future.

Although I am unable to give you the timescale for this, the Trust will be happy to provide further information as we have it if you would like to contact out Patient Advice and Liaison Team (PALS) 02476 536804.

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Response from Julia Williams, Assistant Director - Experience & Quality, Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership Trust We have made a change

Further to your initial enquiry we have pleasure in informing you that a 'place of safety' commenced in April 2011 and is based at the Caludon Centre.

It provides a service for the people of Coventry and Warwickshire and serves two police forces (West Midlands and Warwickshire).

Operating over 24 hours, 7 days a week, this facility provides for individuals who are detained under Section 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act, 1983.

Multi agency procedures support all of the agencies who are all involved in such detentions, these include the Police, Ambulance, Social Care staff and the staff of Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust. This service is specifically for those individuals who have been detained by the Police, under these orders.

Thank you for your feedback which has highlighted a need, which has now been addressed.

  • rightsawareness thinks this response is helpful
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Update posted by rightsawareness (the patient)

Thank you for response Ms J Williams it is helpful to receive feedback regards NHS trust's care provision to service users.