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Interagency collaboration models for people with mental ill health in contact with the police: a systematic scoping review
  1. Adwoa Parker1,
  2. Arabella Scantlebury2,
  3. Alison Booth1,
  4. Jillian Catherine MacBryde3,
  5. William J Scott4,
  6. Kath Wright5,
  7. Catriona McDaid1
  1. 1 York Trials Unit, Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York, UK
  2. 2 Institute of Health and Society, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  3. 3 York Management School, University of York, York, UK
  4. 4 North Yorkshire Police, Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, UK
  5. 5 Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York, York, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Adwoa Parker; adwoa.parker{at}


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.

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

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  • Contributors AP led the review and was responsible for writing the protocol, study selection, data extraction, grey literature and hand searches and writing the final report. KW devised the search strategies, carried out the literature searches and wrote the search methodology section of the paper. AP, AB and AS undertook study selection and data extraction. AP, AB, AS, CM, JCM and WJS inputted into the study conception and design. All the authors commented on the draft protocol and the final report. CM provided input at all stages, commented on all draft documents and had overall responsibility for the review. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Home Office through the College of Policing (grant no J05).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The data extraction tables will be made available by placing a reasonable request with the lead author.

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