Interagency collaboration models for people with mental ill health in contact with the police: a systematic scoping review

Adwoa Parker, Arabella Scantlebury, Alison Booth, Jillian Catherine MacBryde, William J. Scott, Kath Wright, Catriona McDaid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Objective To identify existing evidence on interagency collaboration between law enforcement, emergency services, statutory services and third sector agencies regarding people with mental ill health. Design Systematic scoping review. Scoping reviews map particular research areas to identify research gaps. Data sources and eligibility ASSIA, CENTRAL, the Cochrane Library databases, Criminal Justice Abstracts, ERIC, Embase, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, PROSPERO and Social Care Online and Social Sciences Citation Index were searched up to 2017, as were grey literature and hand searches. Eligible articles were empirical evaluations or descriptions of models of interagency collaboration between the police and other agencies. Study appraisal and synthesis Screening and data extraction were undertaken independently by two researchers. Arksey's framework was used to collate and map included studies. Results One hundred and twenty-five studies were included. The majority of articles were of descriptions of models (28%), mixed methods evaluations of models (18%) and single service evaluations (14%). The most frequently reported outcomes (52%) were 'organisational or service level outcomes' (eg, arrest rates). Most articles (53%) focused on adults with mental ill health, whereas others focused on adult offenders with mental ill health (17.4%). Thirteen models of interagency collaboration were described, each involving between 2 and 13 agencies. Frequently reported models were 'prearrest diversion' of people with mental ill health (34%), 'coresponse' involving joint response by police officers paired with mental health professionals (28.6%) and 'jail diversion' following arrest (23.8%). Conclusions We identified 13 different interagency collaboration models catering for a range of mental health-related interactions. All but one of these models involved the police and mental health services or professionals. Several models have sufficient literature to warrant full systematic reviews of their effectiveness, whereas others need robust evaluation, by randomised controlled trial where appropriate. Future evaluations should focus on health-related outcomes and the impact on key stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere019312
Number of pages13
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2018


  • interagency collaboration
  • mental health
  • police
  • systematic scoping review


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