The police often come into contact with people suffering from mental health and substance abuse problems and there is evidence to suggest that these individuals are concentrated in small geographic units. The purpose of the current research is to present a proactive co-responder approach that addresses mental health problems concentrated in crime hot spots. Police officers were paired with mental health clinicians to spend time in hot spots in an effort to connect people who suffer from mental health and substance abuse problems to services and rebuild trust between the police and community. Data obtained through a process evaluation of the pilot intervention provide insight into the experiences of the teams on the street and how they provided resources and services to residents. We present findings from the pilot based on qualitative interviews to demonstrate the potential for such an approach to address mental health problems and improve perceptions of the police. The programme has the ability to reach a population of individuals who lack the knowledge and resources to seek services, and improve the relationship between the police and residents of hot spots.
Clair White David Weisburd
Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, Volume 12, Issue 2, 1 June 2018