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 peopleĂ‚Â 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.