Under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act, the police can convey people from a public place to a place of safety if they are in extreme mental distress and need to be detained for their own safety or the safety of others.

A place of safety is a secure location where mental health professionals can assess people’s needs and work out the best next steps.

It is not an admission ward, but a place in which people who are distressed can be supported and safely assessed to see whether they have a mental disorder which could require further care or treatment.

Although overnight stays in places of safety are rare, a bed will often be provided so that detainees have the opportunity to rest. 

Given the short timescales associated with most people's stay, friends and family tend not to visit a place of safety. 

Until its temporary closure in March 2018, Swindon's place of safety was located at Sandalwood Court. 

Click the links on the left of this page to find out more about the temporary closure.