Thursday, 19 November 2009

Watching you watching me (uh-huh)

So generally speaking it's rare that I do constant obs, it's something that the probationers tend to do because either they can't drive around on blues & twos or they are the ones who are just sent to all of these sorts of things, it's constants or scene guards.. so today my topic is constants.

When police detain a person under S136 of the Mental Health Act we are obliged to take that person to a "place of safety". Unfortunately however if they've even sniffed some alcohol within the last 24 hours then no hospital (read hospital for people being treated under the MHA) will touch them and they simply repeat time and time again that it's "OUR" problem. (OH yeah, as Alcohol is a major depressant you can GUESS what the likelihood is that our 136's HAVEN'T been drinking, it's such a slim chance that it's really not funny).

(I don't see how it IS our problem as WE aren't a Hospital!!)

So when you detain someone S136 the first thing you hope is that they haven't been drinking (so sometimes they are even breath tested) but if they have you write off the rest of your shift doing constat obs on this person.

Most Custody Sgts won't allow a 136 in their cell block without a PC doing constant observations on this person. Now this brings to mind the following thoughts:

This person has been searched on ENTRY to custody and all items that could be use to harm themselves or us is removed from everyone. The person is also checked with a metal detector and a few other things yet STILL.. despite no way of doing anything and the available camera cell I'm still stuck on constants.

I sit for 8 hours of my shift twiddling my thumbs, reading a magazine, playing with the internet over my phone and WATCHING a person who's just spent the last 7 hours 45 minutes sleeping! Great use of Police time.. and no wonder my crimes on my account aren't being investigated.

I beg to know why this person who needs help for mental health problems is deemed unfit to be taken a hospital if they've had a drink. I also beg to know just how a CELL BLOCK is seen as a SAFE PLACE for someone who may have mental health issues, surely the hospital is far better equipped to help them and besides that the mental health assessment team then takes 10 - 20 hours to turn up to assess the person in Custody.

It just takes the piss.


  1. Soooooooooo, which bits of policing *do* you like?

  2. My nephew suffers a bi-polar disorder, and is considered to be TRS (treatment resistent Schizophrenia) to the extent he judges when he is well, and refrains from medication. Net result he becomes delusional, and is thrust into a further cycle of psychosis.

    In real terms psychiatric services are hard pressed. I was told that he was now held under a sn3, and would be liable for detention up to six months, while they tried to stabalise him.

    I have on many occasions argued that he needs care, but I am always met with a 'brick-wall'by well meaning professionals reluctant to tag him as psychotic. Hence, it devolves to police to procure a 'place of safety' with creative use of the law.

  3. Off subject, we received this Police Shooting video today... Well worth a look, and proof that what you think you see at first isn't always the full story .....

  4. Crime Analyst,
    A beautiful example. Can just imagine the headlines in the news in the UK now.. "BRUTAL POLICE SHOOTING" - "MAN COMPLIES, SHOT DEAD" - etc.. and it'd be tastefully cut to NOT show that last frame.

    I feel for your family. It seems all too often that the Police have to go and clean up the mess that SS or the MH teams do not. It is quite sad. And when you have to walk someone out of their house voluntarily then say "I'm detaining you under S136 MHA..." it's crap.

    Blue Eyes,
    Quite a lot actually mate.. :-)
    I get a real kick out of actually helping people & locking up the bad guys, just not out of wasting my time, the publics money, sitting on my arse watching someone sleeping in a cell, filling out loads of stupid forms that aren't required by LAW just by my farce.. oh hell, I could go on. Yet I turn up at job after job after job and think to myself perhaps I can make a difference here... and sometimes I DO!