There is continued interest in the planning, development and implementation of services designed to identify, detainees with mental illness and connect them to health and social services. However, currently little is known about how best to configure, organise and deliver these services. The study employed a prospective follow-up design with a comparator group to describe and evaluate a police mental health liaison service based in Belfast. Participants were recruited from two neighbouring police stations, only one of which provided a mental health liaison service. Outcomes including mental health status, drug and alcohol misuse, risk-related behaviour and ‘administrative’ outcomes were assessed at the time of arrest and six months later. The service was successful in identifying and assessing detainees though there appeared to be similar between-group levels of mental health problems over time. Results highlight a need to develop firmer linkages and pathways between criminal justice liaison / diversion services and routine health and social services.
- Mentally disordered offenders; criminal behaviour; forensic mental health; offenders;