College of Policing: Mental Health

logoMental Health

Mental Health APP is intended to provide guidance to the police service of England and Wales. It is focused on the police response to people who:

  • are experiencing mental ill health
  • have a learning disability
  • have developmental conditions
  • have multiple needs relating to mental health
  • are mentally or emotionally vulnerable and require assistance.

The guidance highlights the actions and behaviours that may help the police address the needs of mentally vulnerable individuals. The guidance applies whether the police are acting in a criminal justice or health care capacity or in both of these roles. When acting in a criminal justice capacity, the police become involved when a person is a victim of crime, a witness to a crime or is suspected of or known to have committed a crime.


When acting in a healthcare capacity, the police may be:

  • acting in support of healthcare agencies that are dealing with someone who is experiencing mental ill health – for example, the police may be exercising specific police powers
  • assisting a person who is experiencing mental ill health until healthcare professionals become involved
  • responding to families and carers of people with mental ill health or learning disabilities who have concerns about them
  • responding to members of the public seeking a service from the police in relation to suspected mental ill health or learning disabilities on the part of an individual.


Mental Health APP has been developed by:

  • consolidating and updating existing guidance
  • collating professional expertise of police and voluntary sector practitioners
  • presenting international and national legislation, statutory codes of practice and relevant case law
  • learning from IPCC investigations and reports following deaths, serious injuries and successful interventions in relation to the police response to people who are mentally ill or have learning disabilities.


Click here to access the College of Policing Mental Health Authorised Approve Practice