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Screening for psychiatric morbidity in police custody: results from the HELP-PC project

  • Iain McKinnon (a1), Samir Srivastava (a2), Gurpreet Kaler (a3) and Don Grubin (a1)
Abstract
Aims and method

To ascertain the efficacy of custody health screening for mental disorders. We assessed a sample of detainees for the presence of mental disorders and the need for an appropriate adult. The assessments were carried out using pragmatic interviews and examinations supported by structured tools. Where possible, we attributed a probable clinical diagnosis based on the information available to us. The need for an appropriate adult was judged based on this information and capacity assessments.

Results

Existing screening procedures missed a quarter of cases of severe mental illness and moderate depression; they also failed to detect about a half of those at risk of alcohol withdrawal and 70% of those at risk of withdrawal from crack cocaine. The need for an appropriate adult was not recognised in more than half of cases.

Clinical implications

Consideration should be given to modifying police screening procedures for mental and associated disorders so that detainees receive the appropriate attention.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Iain McKinnon (iain.mckinnon@ncl.ac.uk)
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 1758-3209
  • EISSN: 1758-3217
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Screening for psychiatric morbidity in police custody: results from the HELP-PC project

  • Iain McKinnon (a1), Samir Srivastava (a2), Gurpreet Kaler (a3) and Don Grubin (a1)
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