Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 June 2014
Objective: To determine the characteristics of compulsory admissions by the police and to compare them with compulsory admissions by other means. Method: A retrospective review over one year of the case records of 48 consecutive compulsory admissions after referral by the police was compared with 96 other randomly chosen compulsory referrals over the same period. Results: In both groups a majority had a chronic history of mental illness with frequent prior compulsory hospitalisation. Significant differences were found between the two groups with the police group more often younger, single, unemployed, males. They were also significantly more likely to suffer from schizophrenia and to have had their admission precipitated by behaviour of an assaultive nature, or by property offences, and on admission to spend a shorter period in hospital. Conclusions: It is suggested that at-risk case registers and the use of alternative emergency procedures will serve to lessen the need for police intervention with the mentally ill.
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