Police can take people (under the Mental Health Act) from a public place to a health based place of safety (PoS) or 136 suite if they are in extreme mental distress and need to be detained for their own safety and the safety of others. A health based place of safety is a place where mental health professionals can assess people's needs and work out the best next steps. A health based place of safety is not an admission ward. An individual may be detained using the 1983 Mental Health Act for the purposes of assessing whether they have a mental disorder and if so whether they require further assessment or treatment. People taken to a place of safety are in crisis and usually highly distressed. Most are presenting a risk to themselves and sometimes to others.
People detained are not patients. They are detainees until a decision is made as to whether they have a mental disorder that requires further assessment or treatment. A bed is available in the place of safety suite, not as a bedroom, but rather to allow rest. It is extremely rare that a person in a place of safety suite would be visited by relatives during their brief stay.
In AWP our health based place of safety units are located and aligned to the two police constabularies that we work with, namely Avon and Somerset Constabulary and Wiltshire Constabulary. For Avon and Somerset – which serves Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and BaNES - we provide a 24-hour staffed, four capacity health based place of safety at Mason Unit on the Southmead Hospital site, Bristol.
Across Wiltshire our place of safety (Bluebell Unit) is located at Green Lane Hospital in Devizes. This is a 24-hour staffed, four capacity health based place of safety.