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Title: Examining and understanding the use of the police custody as a "place of safety" under section 136 of the Mental Health Act
Author: Hannan, Maria
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis describes the use of police custody as a ‘place of safety’ and examines the deaths of those detained under the power to explain how they might best be prevented. The police are often the first agency to be called and attend difficult and potentially confrontational situations. They may have to deal with vulnerable, disturbed, distressed individuals behaving in bizarre or aggressive ways. However, police officers generally do not have the skills and understanding to deal with these people. There is currently very little evidence about the nature and extent to which police custody is used as a ‘place of safety’ under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 or the details of those detained. Many deaths in police custody involve people with mental health problems and deaths in custody remain a highly contentious issue. This is particularly the case for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities who have experienced some of the most controversial deaths and where trust and confidence in the police have traditionally been lower. This thesis explains why variations in the use of Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 occur by exploring the data gathered from police forces. In particular it explores the possibility that variation in the use of Section 136 may be linked to differences in police cultural knowledge or ‘habitus’, with some forces having more positive working relationships with health and social care than others, and differences in the wider ‘field’ with the availability of alternatives to police custody varying greatly across police force areas. The relationship between the ‘field’ and ‘habitus’ cannot be underestimated, with the availability and prioritisation of resources and cultural knowledge of the police and other agencies influencing and impacting on each other. In turn, this can be affected by a number of issues such as police leadership, training, law and policy.
Supervisor: Bowling, Benjamin ; Richardson, Genevra Mercy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available