Disclosure Details

Mental health detainees - 359/13

Dated: 17 Jun 2013

Date of request:     30/04/2013

Date of response:   14/06/2013

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)

Thank you for your email dated 30 April  2013 in which you made a request for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police.

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked: 

  1. How many people has your force detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act in each of the past three years (2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13)? If you do not record this, could you say how many people have been detained for non-criminal mental health incidents?

  2. In each of these three years, how many of these mental health detainees had to be kept in police custody rather than being taken to A&E or a mental health unit?

In response:

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Corporate Development Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.

I have today decided to disclose the located information to you as follows.

  1. The information below is the result of a search of all arrests within the periods requested for Home Office Classification code 252/01 – Section 136 Detention under Mental Health Act.

    2010/11 - 157
    2011/12 - 169
    2012/13 - 159

  2. Each record was then scrutinised to determine if a detainee 'had to be' kept in police custody rather than being taken to A&E or a mental health unit. These are as follows:

    2010/11 - 28
    2011/12 - 32
    2012/13 - 26

Of these 86 occasions, the reasons listed for the detention fell into the following categories:-

  • Under the influence of alcohol or drugs

  • Violent

  • No alternative place of safety available

  • Constant supervision required

  • Other behaviour issues

In November 2012 a protocol was agreed between the Force and its partners that clarified the preferred place of safety to be one based in a health setting i.e. not a custody suite (unless extreme circumstances exist). Prior to that date a Section 136 suite in Police Custody was classed as a suitable place of safety for some detainees. 

Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another.  Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data.  For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.

The information we have supplied to you is likely to contain intellectual property rights of Northumbria Police.  Your use of the information must be strictly in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) or such other applicable legislation.  In particular, you must not re-use this information for any commercial purpose.

How to complain

If you are unhappy with our decision or do not consider that we have handled your request properly and we are unable to resolve this issue informally, you are entitled to make a formal complaint to us under our complaints procedure which can be found at: http://www.northumbria.police.uk/foi/disclosurelog/foicomprights.asp

If you are still unhappy after we have investigated your complaint and reported to you the outcome, you may complain directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office and request that they investigate to ascertain whether we have dealt with your request in accordance with the Act.


FOI Complaint Rights Procedure_tcm4-67103