Police officers fail to respond to mental health

civil rights violations by Herts Police

A man with mental health arrested on a false allegation was given no support even though police were told of his condition.


Deputy Chief Constable Michelle Dunn said:

“There is no place in Hertfordshire Constabulary for those who exploit vulnerable people, especially when we should be there to protect and support them.”


It is government policy that people with mental health problems should receive treatment and care from health and social services. The law allows for this to continue, or begin, if someone becomes involved with the police (also see Mental health and the courts). This information describes the mechanisms that enable this to happen at any stage in the criminal justice system. See Explaining legal terms for a glossary of the terms used.


For advice from a solicitor who has knowledge of mental health law and issues, contact Community Legal Advice or The Law Society which have lists of qualified solicitors. (See Useful contacts.)


If I have a mental health problem, should I tell the police?

There are several things the police must do if they realise, or are told, you have a mental health problem. Firstly, they must contact an Appropriate Adult (see below), and they should not interview you about an alleged offence until he or she can be with you. There are limited circumstances when you can be interviewed without an Appropriate Adult being present, for example, to prevent physical harm to a person.


Secondly, the police must make sure that you receive appropriate clinical attention as soon as reasonably practicable if you appear to be suffering from a mental health problem or in urgent cases immediately call the nearest appropriate healthcare professional or an ambulance. You can also be examined by a medical practitioner of your choice at your expense.


A man with mental helath arrested for Chewing gum was given no support even though police were told of his condition

The handcuffs have left his wrists red and marked from the incident.


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