Policing, Crime and Mental Illness in England and Wales: Insights from the Literature

Frank Kitt, Colin Rogers

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Mental illness pervades most societies, but it is only recently that its impact and effects upon individuals has slowly been recognised in England and Wales. When people suffering from this illness become involved with various public agencies, the way they are dealt with appears inconsistent and on occasions ends in tragedy. One agency that is constantly in contact with people who suffer mental health illness is the police service. Some high profile cases have clearly illustrated misunderstandings and the fact that the police are not generally equipped to deal with such individuals. This article considers a brief history and theoretical backcloth to police understanding and framing of mental illness in England and Wales, and explores the National Liaison and Diversion Model as an alternative to traditional police understanding and response. The article suggests that only by understanding the historical context, and literature, surrounding mental illness, can improvements be made in the criminal
justice system as a whole and within the police service in particular.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-261
Number of pages14
JournalReview of European Studies
Issue number2
Early online date9 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • police
  • mental illness
  • criminal justice
  • diversion model


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