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Armed Forces Act 2006

Schedule 12 – Detention Etc of Persons in Overseas Service Hospitals

843.This Schedule provides the framework for powers to detain, assess and treat a person overseas who is subject to service law or service discipline, where it is considered that he is suffering from a mental disorder. The powers, duties and obligations provided for in the Schedule are similar to those available to medical authorities within England and Wales and are loosely based upon the provisions of the 1983 Act. The Schedule is given effect by section 351.

844.Paragraph 2 contains the main powers in the Schedule to admit persons to, and detain them temporarily in, overseas service hospitals (i.e. service hospitals outside the British Islands: see paragraph 12) for assessment or treatment. The powers in paragraph 2 apply to persons subject to service law, or civilians subject to service discipline, who are outside the British Islands (paragraph 2(1)).

845.The person’s CO can make an order under paragraph 2(3) for the person to be detained in (or admitted to and detained in) an overseas service hospital on the recommendation of two registered medical practitioners. Such an order has effect for 28 days (paragraph 3(2)(a)).

846.If the case is urgent, the CO can make an order under paragraph 2(3) on the recommendation of one registered medical practitioner, but such an order has effect for only 5 days (paragraph 3(2)(b)).

847.If an order under paragraph 2(3) is made on the recommendation of one registered medical practitioner, the CO can, under paragraph 2(5), make a further order in relation to the person if another recommendation is produced to him while the paragraph 2(3) order is in force. The paragraph 2(5) order has effect for 28 days from the date of the paragraph 2(3) order (see paragraph 3(3)).

848.Paragraph 3(4) sets out the effects of an order under paragraph 2. Paragraph 3(4)(c) gives authority for the person to be taken back to the UK for further assessment or treatment. But in that case the order has effect for a maximum of 24 hours after the person’s arrival back in the UK (paragraph 3(5)).

849.Recommendations under paragraph 2 must include a statement that the registered medical practitioner is satisfied that all the relevant conditions are met in the case of the person (paragraph 4(1)). Paragraph 1 sets out the relevant conditions.

850.Where an order is made under paragraph 2(3) on the recommendation of only one registered medical practitioner, the recommendation must include a further statement relating to the urgency of the situation (paragraph 4(2)).

851.Paragraph 5 enables any authorised officer to exercise the CO’s powers under paragraph 2 if the CO is absent or otherwise not available. “Authorised” is defined in paragraph 5(3). But note that the power in paragraph 5 cannot be used in the case of a civilian subject to service discipline (paragraph 5(1)).

852.Paragraph 6 confers a regulation-making power on the Secretary of State to enable persons to apply to revoke an order under paragraph 2. Such an application may be made immediately after the paragraph 2 order is made (paragraph 6(1)). The persons hearing the application (and the regulations may make provision as to, inter alia, who should hear such applications) may either confirm or revoke the order, and direct the immediate release of the person subject to the order (paragraph 6(3)).

853.Paragraph 7 applies in the case of persons subject to service law, or civilians subject to service discipline, who are currently already patients in an overseas service hospital (paragraph 7(1)). The paragraph empowers the CO of the service hospital to detain the patient in the hospital for a short period while an order under paragraph 2(3) is sought in relation to the patient (paragraph 7(3)).

854.A person can be detained under this power for a maximum of 24 hours (paragraph 7(4) to (7)).

855.The power in paragraph 7 applies only if a registered medical practitioner decides that all the relevant conditions (see paragraph 1) are met, or a prescribed person decides that all the relevant conditions appear to be met, in the case of the patient (paragraph 7(1)). “Prescribed person” means a person of a description prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State (paragraph 7(9)). The regulations might, for example, prescribe nurses.

856.Paragraph 8 authorises, outside the British Islands and in defined circumstances, the removal from service living accommodation of a person subject to service law, or a civilian subject to service discipline; and his detention for a short period in an overseas service hospital while an order under paragraph 2(3) is sought in relation to him.

857.Paragraph 8 empowers a service policeman, in the circumstances specified in paragraph 8(1), to enter service living accommodation (see paragraph 12(3)) and remove a person to an overseas service hospital (paragraph 8(2)). The CO of the service hospital can then detain the person for a maximum of 24 hours (paragraph 8(4) to (7)) while the paragraph 2(3) order is sought.

858.Paragraph 8(3) requires the service policeman, if reasonably practicable, to be accompanied by a registered medical practitioner or a person of a description prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State. The accompanying person can assist the service policeman to enter the accommodation and to remove the person to the service hospital.

859.Paragraph 9 contains a power similar to that in paragraph 8. It applies where a service policeman finds in a relevant place (see below) outside the British Islands a person appearing to him to be a person subject to service law or a civilian subject to service discipline and the remaining conditions in paragraph 9(1) are met.

860.“Relevant place” means either a public place or premises (other than service living accommodation) occupied or controlled by HM Forces (paragraph 9(8)).

861.Again, the service policeman may remove the person to an overseas service hospital (paragraph 9(2)) and the CO of the hospital can detain the person there for a maximum of 24 hours (paragraph 9(3) to (6)) while the paragraph 2(3) order is sought. Paragraph 9 contains no requirement akin to paragraph 8(3).

862.Paragraph 10 enables a person exercising a power under the Schedule to use reasonable force, if necessary, in exercise of the power.

863.Paragraph 11 deems a person who is being conveyed, removed or detained by virtue of a provision in the Schedule to be in service custody. This allows rules under section 300 (service custody etc rules) to be made which will apply to the conveyance, removal or detention of the person under the provisions in the Schedule.

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