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Case study: Section 136


Case study: Section 136

Case study: Section 136

Under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act (1983), police in England and Wales have powers to remove a person who they suspect to have a mental disorder from a public place to a ‘place of safety’. This could be a police station or a hospital with a Section 136 suite. This case study was triggered by the plans to build a new secure mental health unit for young people, which incorporated a 136 suite with a separate entrance at the back of the unit. At this point the foundations for the building had not yet begun, although finishing touches were being put to the architectural plan.

As a result, there was still some opportunity to modify both the design of the building and the ‘design’ of the plans for operation of the unit. The new build and its accompanying System Safety Assessment (SSA) also provided the possibility to improve the current 136 service in the ‘old’ unit and to address some concerns over a recent rise in demand on service provision through increased patient numbers.

This case study follows step-by-step through the SSA process as described in the Guide section of this website. The main phases of the study are each described on a separate page:

Photo of people conducting the Section 136 case study

Conducting the Section 136 case study *

These pages describe how the steps in the Guide were put into practice. The details of these steps were recorded in the SSA Assessment Form. Screenshots from this form are used throughout the case study webpages. They are reproduced at a small size and are primarily intended to indicate which parts of the form were filled in at each stage. The details in the form can be seen by clicking on the images to enlarge them. Alternatively, the completed form can be downloaded (as a pdf) from the Section 136 download page.

Please note that this case study is based on a real SSA. However, the materials have been organised, tidied up and slightly expanded for presentation purposes, and some modifications have been made for reasons of confidentiality (e.g. names have been anonymised). In particular, the original case study was recorded using brief notes and bullet points. For clarity, these were completed more fully after the SSA so that other members of staff who were unfamiliar with the assessment would be able to understand what had taken place.