April 26th, 2010

I’m still on hold

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

We’ve been 136′ing people for many years, you’d have thought they’d have a protocol for it by now.

Section 136 of the mental health act is society’s get-out clause which says the police can deal with people they are not trained to deal with. It gives officers the power to take someone to a hospital (place of safety) when it appears their mental capacity is so unbalanced that either their own or others’ safety would be put at risk to leave them.

We use it mainly for people who are threatening or trying to kill themselves. We take them to a hospital where a properly trained group of people take many hours to assemble & then give them the once over & kick them back out on the streets saying there is nothing wrong them.

Gemma has been 136′d loads of times in the past 5 years. We tried it again today. I have no idea whether she was sectioned or not but I’ll take a guess at not since she is rarely sectioned despite standing in the street, semi naked, threatening to jump off the nearest railway bridge whilst chewing razor blades.

She was taken to the local A&E, they have a nurse there who is nothing short of anti-police, I have no idea why, I’ve never met her, though I have spoken to her on the phone & she was anti me within 30 seconds & all I was doing was passing a message. Anyway, before the doors of the police transit were fully open, Nurse Happy was running out of A&E saying that Gemma wasn’t going there & we would have to take her elsewhere. I’m sure there is something about a duty of care & a hospital being a place of safety & not taking people  elsewhere willy nilly once they are at such a place, but the only thing on Nurse Happy’s mind was getting the officers to fuck off with their charge. Apparently, there was already a mentally imbalanced person on the premises & they can’t cope with two, or soemthing.

They sat in the car park at A&E for 3 hours while Social Services failed to ring me back, several times. I did get through but was told that it was another department’s responsibility. I was given another number to try, which I did, but it wasn’t their responsibility either, they gave me another number which turned out to be the same person I first spoke to who gave me a 3rd number. Which turned out to be the same office as the second person I spoke to. Apparently, it was nobody’s responsibility.

I rang a mental health treatment unit in a nearby town, it wasn’t their responsibility really but it was worth a try. They didn’t mention responsibilities, just that they didn’t have a bed free.

I rang back the first social services office, or was it the second, can’t be sure, it still wasn’t their responsibility & they tried to give me the same number they’d given me before. I rang it in the tiniest hope that perhaps the morning staff had been relieved by anyone with some common sense, but no, it still wasn’t their responsibility. I have no idea why, they were the social services mental health team in the same town as we all were. I was asked whether Gemma had taken drink or drugs, apparently if she had it wouldn’t be their responsibility under a different protocol, even if it was their responsibility, which of course it wasn’t. No, she wasn’t drunk or drugged, she was just mental. Unless standing in the streets, pissing pretty patterns on the pavement, whilst spitting blood at anyone who approaches you & regailing tales of how you’ve eaten your baby’s brain is normal behaviour, which, come to think of it, probably is on that estate.

I asked the second department whose responsibility it wasn’t to ring the first department whose responsibility it wasn’t & find out if there was a third department whose responsibility it might have been because it sure as hell wasn’t the responsibility of the 4 police officers who were sitting in the sun at the local A&E. And if they couldn’t find a third department perhaps they could decide which of the two departments were responsible so that they could perhaps decide where Gemma should go & perhaps get a mental health team together to assess her.

I left work another 3 hours later.

As far as I know the officers are still sitting in the car park.

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8 comments

  1. Stan Still says:

    Let’s go back a step and find a different way of dealing with this young lady.

    She was on a railway bridge. That’s railway property.

    If I recall correctly – trespassing on railway property is a criminal offence.

    Offences committed on the railway are dealt with by British Transport Police.

    Therefore, call out the Trainspotters and let them deal with her.

    Problem solved?

    April 26th, 2010 at 23:16

  2. RocketDodger says:

    Sectioned a pensioner many moons ago. She had chucked the entire contents of her flat out the window. Not a great problem other than she was ten storeys up! Luckily our area had a mental hospital who dealt with cases such as this. I think then (late 80s) they could keep them for 28 days or some such bollocks. Anyway, being the keen young probie that I was, I contacted the Social Services and suggested that when she was released would it not make sense to put her on the ground floor. I was politely told to sod off.

    Long story short, she is released, returns home to her empty flat and decides only one thing left to chuck out the window.

    RIP Rose.

    April 27th, 2010 at 01:44

  3. Pas ex as ex can be says:

    A few years ago now, on night shift, we were called to the local A & E by the duty nurse (very, very pro by the way) where a man was kicking off shouting that he was going to kill himself. Four of us had to hold him down while they tried to find the duty trick cyclist. We all know how hard it is to restrain someone especially if they are mentally unbalanced and after about two hours of restraining this fella we were all pretty stuffed.

    Eventually the duty psych turned up and after a few Q&As he declared the man to be “…as sane as you or I, let him up” which we did and off he toddled mumbling and muttering to himself. We also toddled off mumbling and muttering to ourselves and on the way back to the nick got a message that someone had jumped in front of a car just outside the hospital. Yep, you guessed it; it was the man who was as sane as you or I that we had just released on the say so of the duty psych.

    As the road was a busy ‘A’ road the fella was dead as a dodo when we got there and the driver was uninjured but was a state of shock (like most suicides I have been to I don’t feel sorry for the person who topped themselves but feel huge sympathy for the person/family member who found the body or in this case was the unlucky person who did the deed)

    Coincidently, when we took the driver to the nearby A&E to get checked over, the duty psych was there, the look on his face when I told him what happened was a sight to remember.

    April 27th, 2010 at 02:11

  4. PC A Hunn says:

    I long ago lost count of the hours I have spent waiting at various hospitals dealing with just this sinario 200. It absolutly boils my blood that there is an attitude amoungst these so called professionals of “you touched it last so it’s your responsibility”. I have tried numerous ways over the years to try to get them to deal with plainly mad people from stand up arguments to dump and run.

    I recently came across the best tactic quite by chance recently. I found out where the emergancy social services mental health assessment team’s office was located in our local hospital and used the power of the uniform to wander in and speak to them face to face. I found 8(!! More than my shift) of them sitting drinking tea and chatting as their supervisor was playing solitare on the NHS computer. I explained what I had in my van (usual cry for help off the bridge) and took the name of the name of the supervisor in my PNB before politely asking them to do some work. All of a sudden they were not as busy as they normaly profess and begrudingly said they would see the 136 straight away whilst grumbling about protocols and ringing from A&E.

    In future 200 it might be worth ringing one of the troops on the ground to try this one on. Also I have noticed that taking each persons name you speak to in these Depts and make it known you are recording what they say verbatim “just incase anything goes wrong” they often become much more helpful.

    April 27th, 2010 at 06:02

  5. Fee says:

    Many years and a house-move ago, we had a neighbour with some pretty serious mental health issues. One afternoon, he got into the roof space above the top flats, then found to his disappointment there was no access to the outside world. He refused to come down, and the police were called. They spent four hours persuading him to come out, and took him off to hospital. The hospital released him early the next morning, then a different police officer spent a couple of hours talking him down from the North Bridge. The scenario was repeated several times, with the odd short hospital stay, until seven or eight months later when the driver of the London train couldn’t stop in time. As neighbours, we felt guilty phoning the police when he lost control, but what the hell else could we do?

    April 27th, 2010 at 13:25

  6. Reatively Proactive says:

    Its not so much 136 that irks me as D&I. at least with a D&D the custody sergeant will normally accept them easily enough. When they are incapable, ours always refused to take them as they were too dangerous to be anywhere near in case they vomited and choked themselves. we sometimes tried taking them to the hospital but they would refuse to take them because they had nothing medically wrong with them. There was literally nothing to do except drive around with them for a few hours until they sobered up enough or leave them discretely outside the hospital door when nobody was looking and give them the duty of care instead.

    April 27th, 2010 at 18:42

  7. Jim says:

    Your very good 200, our control leave it for us to make all the enquires and phone calls to various departments and hospitals; and there are alot in our area to palm off our 136 to each other!

    April 27th, 2010 at 19:17

  8. Sierra Charlie says:

    “the look on his face when I told him what happened was a sight to remember”

    But he was probably mainly thinking about what effect it might have on his career…

    April 28th, 2010 at 09:07

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