The way police respond to mental health call outs is changing as of today (December 11) after new changes around 'sectioning' came into force.

It is now unlawful to use a police station as a place of safety for anyone under the age of 18 in any circumstances.

A police station can now only be used as a place of safety for adults in specific circumstances, which are set out in regulations.

The previous maximum detention period of up to 72 hours has been reduced to 24 hours (unless a doctor certifies that an extension of up to 12 hours is necessary).

A person subject to section 135 or 136 can be kept at, as well as removed to, a place of safety. Therefore, where a section 135 warrant has been executed, a person may be kept at their home (if it is a place of safety) for the purposes of an assessment rather than being removed to another place of safety. 

Last week, a call was put out for the public to submit their evidence around what else they would like to see change in the law governing mental health in England and Wales.

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