Police involvement, characteristics and outcomes of place of safety referrals in the Scottish Highlands

JI Eze, Struan Simpson

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Aims and method
To characterise police involvement with those detained under place of safety legislation and determine factors associated with admission to hospital. Place of safety referrals over a 1-year period were identified retrospectively and evaluated.

Place of safety legislation is generally used with regard to concerns about suicide. Individuals are often removed from high-risk areas and referrals to police are frequently initiated by individuals themselves. A diagnosis of mental illness or personality disorder predicted hospital admission. Presence of senior nursing staff at assessment, but not the seniority of the doctor, was associated with discharge.

Clinical implications
Closer multiagency working is required as police are currently being recruited to fill a void between mental health services and the population they serve. Junior doctors require more senior support in making complex, and often risky, emergency management decisions with this population.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBJPsych Bulletin
Early online date24 Feb 2020
Publication statusFirst published - 24 Feb 2020



  • Suicide
  • risk assessment
  • self-harm
  • psychiatry

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