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Guidelines for Risk of Self harm


I would like to know what processes, procedures and /or guidelines you have in place regarding how your staff deal with a disclosure or suspicion that a person they have come into contact with in the course of their duties may self harm or currently self harms.

I am particularly interested in how these relate to adults and older members of the public.


There is no specific process, procedure, or any specific guidelines in place. Should a police officer or a police staff member encounter a member of the public who either displays actions or intentions of self harm, there is an expectation to firstly safeguard the individual. This is assessed and managed on a case by case basis. There are options available to officers for example, either by use of police powers (e.g. use of Section 136 of  the Mental Health Act or the Mental Capacity Act) or by utilising less restrictive options such as taking the individual to a family member if necessary and involving partner agencies. This could be by submitting a referral to the safeguarding units or by telephoning local crisis or emergency duty teams.

Some areas have mental health triage teams co-located with frontline officers. Referrals can be made face to face, or by phone, and information can be quickly passed to the right agencies. This system is proven to improve risk assessment and ensure the person in crisis receives the right care, at the right time.

From August we will have a Mental Health triage team based in the control room to assist at first point of contact, seven days a week, 0800-2200hrs.

Should the person displaying self harm be held in Police custody (for offences) then a referral will automatically be made to the mental health teams in the force custody centres. These teams ensure joined up care and support throughout the criminal justice process up until disposal.


FOI Ref: 748/16

Date of Request: 25.05.16