Demographic and clinical characteristics of 1092 consecutive police custody mental health referrals

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Forrester, A ; Samele, C ; Slade, K ; Craig, T ; Valmaggia, L (2017)

The 43 police forces in England and Wales have made over 13 million arrests in the last decade. Yet despite this high volume criminal justice system activity, and evidence of substantial health morbidity across the criminal justice pathway, mental health services in police custody have so far only been developed in patches, and the literature in this area is limited. Referrals (n=1092) to a pilot mental health service operating across two police stations in a London borough were examined over an 18-month period in 2012/13. The referred group had high levels of mental health and substance misuse problems (including acute mental illness, intoxication and withdrawal), self-harm, suicide risk and vulnerability, with some important gender differences. Although this work has limitations, the findings are broadly consistent with the small existing literature and they confirm the need for services that are sufficiently resourced to meet the presenting needs.
  • References (3)

    Noga, H., Walsh, E., Shaw, J., & Senior, J. (2015). The development of a mental health screening tool and referral pathway for police custody. The European Journal of Public Health, 25(2), 237- 242.

    NHS England Liaison and Diversion Programme. (2014a). Liaison and diversion operating model 2013/14. London: NHS England.

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