Police and mental health
Explains when you may have contact with the police, what happens if you are arrested and what your rights are if you are taken to the police station.
- three times more likely to be a victim of crime than the general population
- five times more likely to be a victim of assault (rising to 10 times more likely for women)
- more likely to be a repeat victim and experience different types of crime
- far less likely to be satisfied with the service and support they receive.
You can read our page on what to do if you are a victim of crime.
If people are worried about you and think that you may be unwell or vulnerable, the police have special powers under the Mental Health Act:
- Section 135 allows a police officer to enter property with a warrant and take you to a place of safety for assessment.
- Section 136 allows a police officer to take you to a place of safety for assessment under the Mental Health Act if you are in a public place.
For more information see our pages on the Mental Health Act.
Release from custody, possibly with certain conditions attached (for example to return to the police station or to go to court at a certain time).Visit our full listing of Legal Terms
If you are held by the police and they realise, or are told, that you have a mental health problem, you have the right to be accompanied by an appropriate adult.
They should be an adult who is independent of the police, such as a member of your family or a mental health worker, but they cannot be your solicitor. You may be asked if you have a friend or family member you would like to ask or it could be a professional.
An appropriate adult should:
- make sure that you get a solicitor
- request that you are seen by a doctor
- help you to communicate with the police
- be present if you are questioned about an offence.
See our pages on police and mental health for more information.Visit our full listing of Legal Terms
Place of safety
This is a locally agreed place where the police may take you to be assessed. It's usually a hospital but can be your home. A police station should only be used in an emergency.Visit our full listing of Legal Terms
This information was published in November 2017.
This page is currently under review. All content was accurate when published.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.