Breach of the Peace is a very useful in a non-mental health setting and it is right that its use is challenged to ensure it it fit for purpose.
That said BotP is not the right power to resolve mental health issues and more work is required in this area.
It was in the Justice of the Peace Act 1361 that the foundations were laid for the common law complaint of a Breach of the Peace. It is quite remarkable to comprehend that police officers today, dressed in kevlar and carrying CS incapacitant and in many cases a electronic stun device are still enacting powers that were in place before the battle of Agincourt, during the reign of Edward III. It continued the tradition of parish constables who arrested ‘riotous and barratory behaviours’ that were a threat to the King’s Peace. Most officers have, over the years, found that this common law authority allows for prompt action in all manner of important situations – it may be used to arrest someone who is committing a breach of the peace and someone who the officers reasonably anticipate will breach the peace in the imminent future. They may force entry to premises…
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