Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 is a controversial section. It authorises a police constable, often with no psychiatric training, to take a mentally disordered person from a public place to a place of safety, usually a hospital or a police station, so that he or she may be assessed by a doctor and a social worker within a 72 hour period. There have been several studies looking at this section from the point of view of psychiatrists, social workers, and other interested parties, in particular MIND. The aim of this study was to find out from the police whether or not problems arose during their dealings with people whom they had placed on section 136.
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