The Maxwell Suite

The Maxwell Suite provides a place of safety for people detained by police under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act because they appear to be suffering from a mental disorder and need immediate care.

Before the Suite opened, the only designated places of safety in the county were police cells, which are far from suitable because the people being assessed have not committed a criminal offence.

Inspector Sarah Simmons of Gloucestershire Constabulary said: “While we have always done our best to ensure individuals we detain under Section 136 are treated with dignity and respect, we have known for a long time that police cells are no place for people who need more complex care and access to specialist mental health services.

“The Maxwell Suite will ensure such people are kept in safety while given access to the help they require, leaving our cells to be used to detain those suspects being dealt with through the criminal process.”

Individuals at the Suite receive a mental health assessment and are then either discharged, referred to community mental health services or admitted to a suitable facility within 24 hours.

What is a Section 136?

Provisions exist in the Mental Health Act for the police to detain people who appear to be suffering from a mental disorder and who are in immediate need of care or control in a public place. Under the Act, these people can be removed to a place of safety under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act to allow assessment by a registered medical practitioner and an approved mental health professional.