Ambulance with police assistance/escort for as long as necessary

The outcome of this assessment and agreement made might be that a police officer /s is required to;

  • Follow behind the ambulance or other vehicle so that further assistance is available if and when required;
  • Accompany the person in the ambulance or other vehicle so that the officer/s can restrain the person if necessary and to prevent serious physical harm to the persons or others, including preventing the person from attempting to "escape" from the vehicle.

The Code (2.44) states that "although the police may have to exercise their duty to protect persons or property while the person is being conveyed, they should, where this is not inconsistent with their duty, comply with any directions or guidance given by the ASW".

The person who is being conveyed should be advised of any action to be taken and the reason why this has been agreed. At all times the level of restraint used, if any, should be minimal and proportionate to the level of risk involved and necessary to ensure the safety of that person and others during conveyance.

Who should advise staff in the hospital named in the Application that the person is to be conveyed to that hospital?

The medical practitioner who has made the medical recommendation will already have ensured that a bed is available for the person whose detention is sought. The ASW or this medical practitioner should, once the conveyance arrangements have been agreed, advise hospital staff of the approximate time of the person's arrival.

What if the Applicant is unable to get assistance in convey the person to hospital?

It is recommended that if this situation does occur the applicant (most likely the ASW) should contact a senior officer in the Trust who will seek to liaise with other senior staff in NIAS and/ or PSNI to resolve the difficulty (where the nearest relative is the applicant, he should contact the duty ASW for assistance). Code 2.40.

However if this has not been possible and the problem remains unresolved, the ASW can seek a warrant under Article 129 (4) of the Order authorising a PSNI constable, accompanied by a medical practitioner, to enter the premises, if need be by force and to convey the patient to the hospital specified in the application. LINK TO WARRANTS SECTION APPENDIX

What if the person "escapes" while being conveyed to hospital?

While being conveyed to hospital the person is deemed to be in legal custody (Article 131 (1)). Should the person escape while being conveyed to hospital, he may be retaken and conveyed to the hospital within the time permitted for his admission, by the person who had custody of him immediately before the escape, or any police officer or ASW (Article 132 (1)). Code 2.38