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Evidence-Based Risk Assessment Screening in Police Custody: The HELP-PC Study in London, UK

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Iain McKinnonORCiD, Professor Donald Grubin



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


The welfare of detainees in UK police custody is the responsibility of Custody Officers (COs). COs need to identify detainees who have significant health problems and require the attention of a health care professional (HCP). We piloted a new risk assessment screen in 2012 in a police custody suite in London, UK. Data were compared to our evaluation of the standard NSPIS risk assessment in 2009/10. We have demonstrated that a structured screen can improve the pickup rate of detainees with head injuries, physical and mental health problems, as well as those at risk of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. By consolidating health problems associated with elevated suicide risk, the detection of higher risk detainees was also significantly improved. The MPS are planning to implement this risk assessment and we recommend a wide scale evaluation of its clinical impact and upon custody health services.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McKinnon I, Grubin D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice

Year: 2014

Volume: 8

Issue: 2

Pages: 174-182

Print publication date: 01/06/2014

Online publication date: 04/04/2014

Date deposited: 22/05/2015

ISSN (print): 1752-4512

ISSN (electronic): 1752-4520

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/police/pau010


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