Police mental health (A guide)

In this brief blog, we will be talking about police mental health, current issues surrounding police mental health, benefits of taking care of police mental health, and more information about police mental health. 

Introduction to police and mental health

The following are some notes to gather about mental health and the police:

Sometimes people with mental health complications may encounter the police.

The three most common methods of this situation are the following:

  • as a victim of crime as reported
  • if you are sick or vulnerable as reported
  • if you are suspected of committing a crime as caught

The 2013 report from the Mind has found that people with mental health complications are:

  • more likely to be victims of crime as reported by the patient
  • likely to feel the effect of being a victim of crime more acutely as stated by the patient
  • less likely to get the support they need in medical perspectives

The following are other facts surrounding you as a mental health patient and the police:

  • If you are convicted for committing a crime, it is crucial that you tell the police and other professionals that you have a mental health complication so that you can get the appropriate care and support.
  • You have specific rights if you are taken to the police station such as the right to free legal advice and the right to medical intervention for your mental health complication
  • If you are displeased with the way the police treated you, you can complain to your local police station through the Police.uk website or, in some instances, through the Independent Office for Police Conduct. You should report your concerns about the police when you were taken into custody within 12 months of the disturbing incident.

The use of restraint by the police force for mental health patients

Police officers have considered mental health as a police business aside from the mental health professionals who are watching over this kind of concept.

There are some mental health patients who might be blamed for the crime but the truth might be far from this.

Police officers might get involved with individuals who have mental health complications and have a risk against themselves or other people.

Some people with mental health complications may even be witnesses of a crime and are unsure of what to do.

Recently, the police are under the Mental Health Act 1983 has enhanced as has mental health-related demands overall.

This kind of situation can occur since there are a lot of people with these kinds of complications that will be involved in this risky work where the police will be trained on how to treat these kinds of patients when they have to deal with them on a case or how to treat them when they are convicted for a crime they have committed.

The College of Policing is a national signatory to the Crisis Care Concordat, both in England (2014) and in Wales (2015) and this kind of national institution has started out with making police officers deal with mental health. 

This kind of college has been working with training its police officers to deal with people with these kinds of complications using training materials that can lead to first response when dealing with a patient with this complication. 

Police officers who will be trained will be having training materials and get trained in the College’s Managed Learning Environment (MLE).

Restraint in mental health settings for mental health patients

Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE QC has authorized mental health professionals and medical professionals in the taking care of mental health patients who might be found dangerous in the mental health facility to help out with the work of bringing support while protecting the professionals who are responsible in giving this support.

What are your rights as a mental health patient when being convicted by the police force?

Your rights as the mental health patient when you are being convicted by the police force are the following:

  • receive free legal advice like other convicts
  • ask the police to tell someone you have been convicted as determined
  • research the Codes of Practice for your rights. This is a kind of book about what the police can do and how they should do things to convicts, especially those with mental health complications

If you are a vulnerable person because of your mental health complication, you have the right to talk about this kind of complication to an appropriate adult.

This kind of adult can be a family member you can trust in talking about your complication or a friend.

Although there are instances that you will be assigned with this kind of adult when you are in the police station.

This kind of adult will help you talk to the police about your complication and make them understand what they’re dealing with and how to provide proper process without hurting the individual.

People who might be involved in your arrest as mental health patient

When the police are suspicious that you have been involved in a crime, you are inevitably taken to people who might help you in your case or not.

The following are these people you will come across once you are in the police station.

Police officers

Police officers have various ranks that will be varied on their work in the profession.

These ranks are earned once police officers have reached some sets of experiences that will bring them to a higher rank.

You will know about these police officers and their ranks when you look at their badges.

These police officers are usually having numbers that will signify their ranks such as PC 1234 (police constable), PS 1234 (police sergeant).

You can be saved once you know the police officers that are involved in your case so that you can get in touch with them if something might have made you get involved in a case again.

You can get their contact details in the warrant as long as you ask permission.

Custody sergeant

This officer will be the one who can authorize someone to be held at the police station.

You will face this individual if you are instructed to stay at the police station. 

This officer will do the following:

  • Assess if you comprehend the caution
  • tell you your rights as someone who is being held at the police station
  • decide if you are vulnerable because of your mental health complication or
  • need an appropriate adult as a necessity on your part

This officer is in charge of the people who are convicted in cells at the police station.

This professional can help you be guided on the legal process when you have been suspected to have committed a crime.

You can depend on them to prepare a case for you once you are placed in court.

When the police are able to convict you for a crime you have been accused of, you have the right to talk to a legal representative.

You can call this professional either on the phone or face-to-face.

You can also ask for a solicitor when you need specific advice in dealing with your case.

This professional will be able to help if you have been wrongly accused for a crime you didn’t commit.

Appropriate adult

As mentioned before, this professional can be a family member, a friend or a carer in your choosing.

You can also have this professional for you when you are in the police station where the police officers can provide one for you. 

This professional is not a police officer. You are advised to have this professional when you are convicted of a crime.

The police can also contact this professional if you have been convicted of a crime.

This professional can help you comprehend what is happening and why you are convicted of a crime.

Appropriate Health Care Professional (AHCP) for the mental health patient

This is a medical professional such as a nurse or doctor. The police officer can ask you if you are in need of a medical service. 

This professional is also referred to as a Forensic Physician.

In London, you might refer or some police officers would refer to this professional as the Forensic Medical Examiner (FME) instead.

This professional will decide if you are well enough to be convicted of a crime.

You have the right to get a Mental Health Act assessment to assess your mental wellbeing.

If the lawyer is worried about your mental health, he or she can tell this professional about this.

This is when the lawyer can collaborate with this professional to assess your mental wellbeing that might have affected your doing the crime or not.

Social worker or community psychiatric nurse for the mental health patient

The police will know if you have been in touch with a social worker or a psychiatric nurse.

These professionals can help the police understand what mental illness you are dealing with. 

You have the right to tell the police if you need your mental health professional for this situation.

This professional can also act as your appropriate adult if you prefer.

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for the mental health patient

This is a government department that is responsible for cases that go in the court.

This is where this department will be able to assess your case and prepare your case at court.

What do the police do with mental health patients being arrested?

The police will first assess if you are considered mentally vulnerable.

This can be done by you asking your legal representative or mental health professional who can vouch for you to make your mental illness credible.

This is also where you will need an appropriate adult to help the police officer understand your situation.

You can learn more about this kind of adult by clicking the link here.

What is mentally vulnerable in police practice?

As most professionals, the police have their own Code of Practice.

The meaning of mentally vulnerable is that you might have some issues in understanding your predicament and why you are being convicted of a crime.

Other characteristics of this aspect of a suspected person are the following:

  • become confused or unclear in the mental health patient
  • provide unreliable, misdirecting or incriminating information without wanting to from the mental health patient
  • do what other people tell you to do without wanting to as seen in the mental health patient
  • agree with everything someone is saying without questioning it as seen in the mental health patient

Responsibility of the custody sergeant in this situation

The custody sergeant should call the AHCP in this kind of situation.

This is where the assessment of the wellness of the mentally ill convicted person is done.

This kind of professional will tell the sergeant what the risks are when dealing with the mental health patient.

The sergeant can also call the appropriate adult to help the mental health patient.


You can only take your medication once the sergeant allows you to take it.

The sergeant has to clarify the medication with the AHCP.

This can help the sergeant know that you are prescribed with the medication.

If you are found to not have been prescribed with the medication, you will have your medication confiscated.


When you are suspected of a mental illness, the police will monitor your behaviour in your cell in each hour.

At interview

This is where you will be given the chance to tell your side of the story to your legal representative.

The legal representative will reassure you that you haven’t proven to have done something wrong and you will be assisted in your case

You will be able to say what you need to say in front of your legal representative.

When you will have to go through interrogation by the police, you will be assisted by your legal representative if you seem to have no clue on how to answer a certain question or the question was too incriminating.


In this brief blog, we have talked about police mental health, current issues surrounding police mental health, benefits of taking care of police mental health, and more information about police mental health. 

If you have any questions about police mental health, please let us know and the team will gladly answer your questions.

FAQs: police mental health

Can the police get someone sectioned?

Yes, the police can get someone sectioned and this can only be done if the person has a mental illness and needs care or control.

These kinds of officers can’t section someone with mental illness if the affected person is in one’s own home or is in a place where he or she is being cared for.

What is mental health program?

A mental health program is a kind of program that will help in bringing the promotion of the overall wellbeing of people so that the people won’t be affected by mental, neurological, and psychosocial disorders.

This kind of program will also help in minimizing the occurrence of substance abuse and other forms of addiction.

This kind of program is also helping people get the medical attention they deserve. 

What is a section 136 Mental Health Act?

Section 136 Mental Health Act permits you to be delivered to a place where you can be safe if the police officer finds you to have some symptoms of a mental health disorder and you may be seen to need a mental health professional to care for you. 

How long does being sectioned last?

Being sectioned lasts 6 months.

This includes the process of being assessed to make sure you really are meeting the requirements of being sectioned.

The 6 months indicate the course of treatment needed by the patient and this duration can last longer if the patient is not healing from the treatment in the 6 months he or she was sectioned.

How do I get a mental health warrant?

You can get a mental health warrant by getting an application from an approved mental health professional (AMHP).

This kind of warrant can only be achieved when you meet the requirements such as a reasonable cause that you have a mental health disorder, unable to look after yourself, and being harassed and neglected.


College of Policing. Use of restraint in mental health.

Mind. Police and mental health.

Rethink Mental Illness. Police station – what happens when you are arrested.

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