Letters, Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Have your say

Police power under Mental Health Act

I READ the article in the Echo about the tragic plight of Melanie Rundell who killed her child simply because she was denied treatment for mental health issues/problems. I would like to make people aware that the police have the powers to detain people under the Mental Health Act, which was wrongly stated by Nicholas Long of the IPCC.

Mental Health Act 1983, Section 135, Warrant to search for and remove patients. If it appears to a Justice of the Peace, on information on oath laid by a mental health professional, that there is reasonable cause to suspect that a person believed to be suffering from mental health disorder has been or is being ill-treated, neglected or kept otherwise than under proper control, in any place within the jurisdiction of the justice or being unable to care for himself, is living alone in such place, the justice may issue a warrant authorising any constable to enter, if need be by force, any premises specified in the warrant in which that person is believed to be, and, if thought fit, to remove him to a place of safety with a view to making an application in respect of him under Part 2 of this Act or other arrangements for his care.

This is only a summary of the Act. The rest can be found on


Mental Health Act 1983, Section 136 Removing Someone to a place of Safety. Current law says police officers have a power under this section to take a person, who is in a public place and appears to be suffering from a mental disorder and to be in need of immediate care or control, to a place of safety.

The Act defines a place of safety as a police station, hospital, care home or any other suitbable place. The person can be held under this power for up to 24 hours in order that he/she can be assessed by mental health professionals.

Again this is only summary.

To the family of Melanie Ruddell, I do really feel for your heartache and the sad loss of Christy. Don’t give up the fight. I am right behind you on this one.

Nicola, Sunderland (Full name and address supplied)

Coun Anderson

AS one of the people who made a complaint about Councillor Florence Anderson’s Facebook comments, I would like to respond to her latest claims.

By “liking” a page calling for the IRA to bomb the next Conservative conference, she supported calls for an act of terrorism in which people could be killed. Her excuse that “it was not meant literally” does not lessen the fact that she did do it.

My view is that councillors should be subject to the same laws, rules and punishment as everyone else, regardless of their position.

Now, Councillor Anderson says the “witch hunt” has “nearly taken my life”, but I view this as just another threat meted out to her critics.

In her own code, she is telling people to “back off or they’ll be sorry” and I would handle this in the same way as Margaret Thatcher dealt with Bobby Sands.

After making threats to starve himself to death, the convicted killer died in his bed by his own choice – a peaceful end not accorded to his victims.

Freedom of speech cannot be constrained by threats and bullying and ends at the point at which offence is caused to others.

This is as true for Councillor Florence Anderson as it is for plain Florence Anderson, one and the same person, and still a Labour councillor.

Councillor Robert Oliver, Leader, Conservative Council Group

Wonderful book

I HAVE just finished reading a book about a remarkable man who has dedicated himself to building schools for the poor and illiterate in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

While climbing in the Himalayas in 1993, Greg Mortenson was rescued in a remote village and pledged to build a school for the children who had never known education. He returned to fulfil his promise long before 9/11 and the War on Terror. He went on to build more and more schools, particularly for girls, in the lawless and dangerous areas of both countries and deserves all the accolades one man could carry.

When it can be fashionable to deride US interests, we should remember that this country can also produce people capable of such phenomenal achievements and remind ourselves to judge everyone on merit, not the colour of their skin, nationality or religious persuasion.

If you read just one book this year, make sure it is Three Cups of Tea. I am sure most will find it a humbling exerience.

Kevin Leary, Cleadon Lea, Sunderland

High and dry!

SO, Mr J. Young, after all your letters about King Neptune invading Sunderland, you change your tune and admit in your last letter (May 24) that sea levels might not rise but might actually fall, which leaves your pie-in-the-sky, money for sea and river defences, just like the Adelaide – high and dry. I rest my case.

R. Tomlinson, Seaham