An increasing number of psychiatric services have non-seclusion policies. Evaluation of a policy of using specified observation levels instead of seclusion was made over a two-year period. The number of violent incidents recorded in health service facilities was low (exactly 50). Community responses elicited from police, probation, and prison services were not generally critical of the policy. Medication levels used were not excessive as determined by peak levels of major tranquilliser and anti-Parkinsonian drugs used. No patient was excluded from the unit because of his or her level of actual or potential aggression, but two were transferred from it for this reason.