Protective searches: individuals removed etc under section 135 or 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983

Part of Policing and Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:15 pm on 12th April 2016.

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‘After section 136B of the Mental Health Act 1983 (inserted by section 61) insert—

(1) Where a warrant is issued under section 135(1) or (2), a constable may search the person to whom the warrant relates if the constable has reasonable grounds for believing that the person—

(a) may present a danger to himself or herself or to others, and

(b) is concealing on his or her person an item that could be used to cause physical injury to himself or herself or to others.

(2) The power to search conferred by subsection (1) may be exercised—

(a) in a case where a warrant is issued under section 135(1), at any time during the period beginning with the time when a constable enters the premises specified in the warrant and ending when the person ceases to be detained under section 135;

(b) in a case where a warrant is issued under section 135(2), at any time while the person is being removed under the authority of the warrant.

(3) Where a person is detained under section 136(2) or (4), a constable may search the person, at any time while the person is so detained, if the constable has reasonable grounds for believing that the person—

(a) may present a danger to himself or herself or to others, and

(b) is concealing on his or her person an item that could be used to cause physical injury to himself or herself or to others.

(4) The power to search conferred by subsection (1) or (3) is only a power to search to the extent that is reasonably required for the purpose of discovering the item that the constable believes the person to be concealing.

(5) The power to search conferred by subsection (1) or (3)—

(a) does not authorise a constable to require a person to remove any of his or her clothing in public other than an outer coat, jacket or gloves, but

(b) does authorise a search of a person’s mouth.

(6) A constable searching a person in the exercise of the power to search conferred by subsection (1) or (3) may seize and retain anything found, if he or she has reasonable grounds for believing that the person searched might use it to cause physical injury to himself or herself or to others.

(7) The power to search a person conferred by subsection (1) or (3) does not affect any other power to search the person.’—

This new clause amends the Mental Health Act 1983 to enable constables to carry out searches where a warrant authorising entry to premises and the removal of a person to another place is issued under section 135(1) or (2) or where a person is detained under section 136(2) or (4). The powers to search are exercisable only where there are grounds for suspecting that the person may present a danger to himself or herself or to others. This new clause also provides for other safeguards comparable to those set out in section 32 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.