What does ‘mental disorder’ mean?
in relation to any person, means an abnormal state of mind (whether of a continuous or an intermittent nature), characterised by delusions, or by disorders of mood or perception or volition or cognition, of such a degree that it –
(a) Poses a serious danger to the health or safety of that person or of others; or
(b) Seriously diminishes the capacity of that person to take care of himself or herself.
When being called to assist a DAO, what may Police do?
Enter the premises where the person or proposed patient or patient is
When assisting a DAO and not in uniform, what must I do?
Produce to a person in actual occupation of the premises his or her badge or other evidence that he or she is constable.
When assisting a DAO and entry has been made, how long can I detain the person for?
6 hours or however long it takes to conduct the medical examination. Whatever is shorter.
When assisting a DAO can I move the detained patient?
Yes, I can take them to the place where they are to have a medical examination.
The 6 hour window is still in effect.
To apprehend a person appearing to be mentally disordered in a public place, what would a Police officer need to believe?
They would need to have a reasonable belief that he or she may be mentally disordered and think that it would be desirable in the interests of the person or of the public to do so.
Once apprehended for appearing to be mentally disordered in a public place, where can Police take the individual and for what purpose?
(a) To a Police station, hospital, or surgery, or to some other appropriate place; and
(b) Arrange for a medical practitioner to examine the person at that place as soon as practicable.
What is it vitally important to consider before apprehending a person appearing to be mentally disordered in a public place?
Whether the person is a serious danger to themselves or others or they have a seriously diminished capacity to take care of themselves.
Once apprehended for appearing to be mentally disordered in a public place, how long do Police have to follow procedure?
6 hours or however long it takes to conduct the medical examination. Whatever is shorter.
What does mental disorder not include?
1· Political, religious or cultural beliefs.
2· sexual preferences.
3· criminal or delinquent behaviour.
4· substance abuse.
5· intellectual disability.
What can I do in relation to prevention first and mental health events?
The Police operating strategy, Prevention First, requires all staff to consider the use of Police discretion and alternative resolutions in appropriate circumstances.
When dealing with a person suffering mental distress, Prevention First means taking a holistic approach to any offending and seeking out opportunities to prevent re-offending.
What is the Police role under the Mental Health Act 1992?
The responsibility for providing services under the Mental Health (CAT) Act 1992 rests primarily with the mental health services but Police provide assistance where legislation provides for Police intervention.
When Police ask a DAO for assistance, what happens?
The DAO must arrange for a health practitioner to examine the person.
If there are reasonable grounds for believing the person is suffering from a mental disorder he or she can be certified for compulsory assessment, and a responsible clinician (usually a psychiatrist or doctor) must carry out a further examination.
When assisting the DAO and dealing with a mental disordered person where is the preferred place for them to be assessed?
The preferred action is to have a doctor assess the person in the person’s family home.
Only if this cannot be done should the DAO take the person to another place.
If it would be reasonably practicable to obtain a warrant to enter what should I not do?
You must not exercise
your powers to enter without a warrant if it would be reasonably practicable
to obtain one.
Both the DAO or Police can apply for a warrant, who must swear it?
The Police Constable must sign and swear it.
When using my power to take and detain what is it the same as?
It can be treated as if it were a power of arrest, with any necessary modifications.
If you are acting in an emergency when assisting a DAO, what force can be used?
You can use such force as is reasonably necessary in the circumstances.
If I use force when assisting a DAO do I need to fill out a Tactical Options Report?
Yes, if you use more than minimal or inconsequential force under this section.
When using force, what do I need to be aware of?
If you act without statutory authority, you have no protection from civil or criminal liability even if you have acted in good faith.
When assisting a DAO to enter premises and detain a person, I should continually assess…
the appropriateness of the actions requested of you, and tell the health
professional if they are proposing that you act outside your powers or ability.
What should I confirm when first dealing with a DAO?
If a DAO asks you to help them to take or return a patient to an assessment or treatment place, what else should I check?
Ask to see a copy of the relevant assessment certificate or compulsory
In the situation when a proposed patient or patient is refusing to attend an assessment or treatment place or is absent without leave, you can use force to transport the person in limited circumstances as set out in section 122B. When should I use force? (Four things)
In all situations, use force only if:
1· In your opinion it is justified, and
2· The DAO gives you clear instructions to do so, and
3· The patient would be likely to suffer harm, or to harm other people or damage property if force is not applied, and
4· The force used is necessary and proportionate given all the circumstances known at the time.
Indemnity around civil claims around force?
Do not use force unless:
1· The district has obtained a general indemnity from the mental health service against civil claims for damage, or
2· The DAO has been informed, and has accepted responsibility for the damage and asked you to continue.
When I detain anyone what must I do?
If the DAO who requested your assistance is not at the scene…
Do not do the job of the health professional.
If the matter is not urgent, decline to take further action. Police should not be routinely involved in applications for compulsory assessment.
What enquires should I make if I locate a person and reasonably believe they may be mentally disordered and requiring assessment for inpatient treatment?
1.Check the person’s status (QP) - they may have been reported missing from a psychiatric hospital or other mental health facility.
- If the person has a known psychiatric history, call your local DAO(s) or Mental Health Services and ask if they have any information about the
- Ask the DAO(s) to find out whether the person is on leave from a psychiatric hospital. If so, their leave may be revoked and the patient returned to the hospital by either a DAO, the person who has charge of the person while on leave, or yourself.
If you find a person in a public place who is acting in a manner that gives rise to a reasonable belief that he or she may be mentally disordered, you can…
1· Take the person to a police station, hospital, surgery or other appropriate place, and
2· Arrange for a doctor’s examination as soon as practicable.
When an assessment finds that a person does not have a mental disorder what should I consider and do?
The person should be released.
Consideration should be given to passing the care of the person to a family member or friend.
What power do Police have to enter private property under the mental health act by themselves?
No Power - Police have no power under the Mental Health (CAT) 1992 Act to enter private property or to detain a person with a mental disorder on private property, unless asked to do so by a DAO or medical practitioner.
What must I remember about entering private property?
Remember Police officers have an implied licence to enter a property, just like any member of the public. If requested to leave by a lawful occupier of the property, in the absence of a lawful justification to remain, police must leave.
Before considering what powers of entry I have what should I remember?
Police can also enter a property if requested to do so by a lawful occupier of that property.
What powers do I have available to effect entry?
Section 14 of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012 allows you to enter private property or a vehicle without a warrant if you suspect there is a risk to life or safety that requires an emergency response.
It also allows warrantless entry if you have reasonable grounds to suspect that your entry will stop or prevent an offence being committed that might injure someone, damage or cause serious loss of property.
However, if you suspect a person has committed an offence that is punishable by imprisonment and for which he or she can be arrested without a warrant,
Section 8 of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012 allows you to enter private premises to search for and arrest that person without a warrant. You can only enter the premises if you believe the person will leave to avoid arrest, and/or destroy, conceal, alter or damage evidence, unless you arrest him or her immediately.
You can also enter private premises under section 7 of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012, to search for and arrest a person if you suspect that the person is unlawfully at large, for example, the person is subject to an inpatient order and is absent without leave.
What does Section 41 of the crimes act cover?
you can use such force as may be reasonably necessary to prevent an act that you believe, on reasonable grounds, would amount to suicide if committed.