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

Andrew Forrester*, Chiara Samele, Karen Slade, Tom Craig, Lucia Valmaggia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


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 only been patchily developed, 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 2012/2013. 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 (including intellectual disability), 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-312
JournalJournal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date26 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • criminal behaviour
  • mental health services
  • mental illness
  • Mentally disordered offenders
  • police interview
  • services
  • substance misuse


Dive into the research topics of 'Demographic and clinical characteristics of 1092 consecutive police custody mental health referrals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this