FAQs on sections 135 and 136 of the MHA 1983 England and Wales CR213, June 2018


This FAQ document was developed in order to provide clinicians and other mental health professionals with easy access guidance on the recent changes to section 135/136 legislation by the Policing and Crime Act 2017 and the Mental Health Act 1983 (Place of Safety) Regulations 2017. It was authored by Dr Julie Chalmers, Dr Aileen O’Brien and Dr Stephen Kaar in conjunction with a number of professionals from across disciplines.


The Policing and Crime Act 2017 and The Mental Health Act 1983 (Place of Safety) Regulations 2017, which also have the force of law, introduced some significant changes to section 135 (s.135) and section 136 (s.136) of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA).

Joint guidance from the Department of Health and Home Office has also been published. These changes came into force on 11 December 2017.

This document has been written for practitioners working in health- based places of safety (HPOS) and those responsible for the commissioning and governance of these services. It is essential that all practitioners and managers of services concerned with those detained under s.135/s.136 are aware of the legislative changes as they could, in some areas, have a significant impact on service provision given the geographical variability of the provision and organisation of these services.

There are two aims of this document:

  1. To provide information on the legislative changes to s.135 and s.136 MHA.
  2. To answer some common questions that may arise in the practical day-to-day application of this legislation with reference to national standards or good practice guidance where applicable.

This document is set out in a FAQ format to allow quick access to the key issues in the clinical application of the s.136/135 MHA. It builds on current available national standards and guidance.


  • Changes to legislation
  • Transportation
  • Place of safety
  • Children
  • Duration of detention
  • Intoxication with drugs and/or alcohol
  • On arrival
  • Transfer
  • Assessment
  • Medication
  • Ending detention
  • Documentation
  • Aftercare and working together

This report has temporarily been taken down for review.

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