Man who wanted to be sectioned at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital handed countrywide railway station ban after bogus calls about his mental health
- Credit: Archant
An Australian-born man believed to be staying in Bedfordshire has been given a countrywide railway station ban after claiming he would hurt himself or others in a bid to get free travel or spend the night in hospital.
David Allen made 63 false call outs to the emergency services in nine months, including asking to be taken to Lister Hospital in Stevenage under section 136 of the Mental Health Act.
Between December 2014 and September 2015, the 37-year-old called out British Transport Police on 33 occasions, and made 13 similar demands of local police forces and called directly on NHS services 17 times.
On more than half of those occasions, he was either taken to a mental health unit or assessed at the scene by a medical professional. Each time he was found to have no treatable mental health illness.
In April, Allen spoke to BTP officers in Peterborough, saying he needed to get to hospital in Stevenage after being dropped off at the station by Cambridgeshire police.
He was asked if he wished to go to hospital on a voluntary basis and stated: “I need to be one-three-sixed and it’s not happening at the moment.”
Unemployed Allen, of no fixed address but believed to be staying in the Bedford area, has now been handed a five-year Criminal Behaviour Order which prevents him from entering stations when drunk or having taken drugs, and says he must have a train ticket for the next available train.
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In early June, a Birmingham-based team alerted BTP detectives to the demand Allen was placing on the force and Det Con Stephanie Davis began to catalogue Allen’s call outs -–not just to BTP but to other emergency services across the country.
DC Davis said: “Before April, he’d only come to our attention four times. But following his flurry of activity in the spring, we suspected he was making similar demands of others.
“Requesting information from other forces and the NHS, we set about compiling a list of his vexatious call-outs, knowing we could use it to apply for a CBO and put a stop to his activities.
“A CBO can only be applied for at a court when an individual is being dealt with for a criminal offence. So, when Allen was charged with a public order offence on October 6 after being aggressive towards nursing staff in Chichester, we were able to put all our evidence before the court.”
Det Insp Gareth Davies said: “David Allen has tied up many hours of valuable police, ambulance and hospital time, only for medical professionals to confirm there is absolutely nothing wrong with him.
“As a result of some thorough and methodical work by BTP officers and staff, we have obtained this CBO which means should Allen come to our attention in future, we can deal with him quickly – ensuring emergency workers can spend their time helping those who genuinely need them.
“We will always deal with people presenting with mental health issues in a compassionate and sympathetic manner. However, we do not tolerate bogus calls for service and we hope this CBO sends a clear message to any like-minded individuals that we will use all powers available to us to put a stop to such behaviour.”