The Role of the Police as a Referral Agency for the Mentally Disordered

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Abstract

What the police do has always been a matter of concern for the public because their powers can be intrusive and also subject to abuse. From the beginning they did their primary task of maintaining the peace by enforcing the law and preventing crime. But, later, those two modes were complemented by the provision of social support.
The literature is full of works about the police generally and about their social support role (e.g. their use of s.136 of the Mental Health Act 1983) from a medical point of view. However, this article aims to add to that literature by considering, from a legal viewpoint, their role as a referral agency for mentally disordered persons. So, the paper focuses on their role generally, their informal and formal referral role (under sections 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983, as amended by the Mental Health Act 2007) and the impact of the 2017 legislation on their formal referral role.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)21 - 36
Number of pages16
JournalMountbatten Journal of Legal Studies
Volume21
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

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