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What Does ‘Sectioned’ Mean?

Mental Health Cop

This will be a very short post to ram home what the word ‘sectioned’ means and every police officer in England and Wales needs to understand it, so they can adjust themselves accordingly. The post is necessary because of the sheer numer of tweets, emails and other communications I get where this point has been badly misunderstood, albeit I accept that this is occasionally due to the way some mental health professionals explain the legal position that may be in play at a given moment in time.

Being ‘sectioned’ normally refers to someone being detained under s2, 3 or 4 in hospital. It is informal language, not a legal term that you will find in the Mental Health Act itself. In addition to referring to the point where someone is detained in hospital, it can also relate to other situations, like a ‘sectioned’ patient being on authorised leave: they remain…

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