In the acute phase of police detention, health concerns can emerge for detainees, especially around drug dependence, mental health conditions, and physical injury. In addition are system complexities including crowding.
In the event of an infectious disease outbreak (such as COVID-19), crowded conditions amongst a population with greater underlying burden of disease than the general population creates significant public health and economic concern. Furthermore, access to resources and expertise to manage health concerns in this environment can be challenging, especially in rural areas.
Researchers will interview key stakeholders involved with the care delivery and decision making of detainees, to identify innovative strategies to delivering healthcare in watch-house settings. This research will consider the decision making processes and costs associated with the delivery of healthcare in police watch-houses that may reduce the need for transfer to hospital emergency departments or reduce the potential for deaths in custody.
This research addresses the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation to understand how evidence-based health services can be provided for those requiring treatment, care and illness prevention whilst in police custody. It also identifies ways in which the need for expensive hospital stays can be minimised.
The expected impact of this research is the capability to identify and inform joined-up approaches so that cost-effective, safe, quality emergency care can be provided to detainees in police watch-house settings.
- Crilly, J.L., Brandenburg, C., Kinner, S.A., Heffernan, E., Byrnes, J., Lincoln, C., Gardiner, P., Davidson, P., Somerville, A., Wilson, D. and Green, D., Thomas, S., 2022. Health care in police watch-houses: a challenge and an opportunity. Medical Journal of Australia. doi.org/10.5694/mja2.51688
Prof Julia Crilly OAM
A/Prof Ed Heffernan
A/Prof David Green OAM
Dr Cathy Lincoln
A/Prof Josh Byrnes
Sen Sgt Paul Gardiner
Prof Stuart Kinner
Dr Caitlin Brandenburg
Prof Stuart Thomas
Dr Annabel Somerville
A/Prof Peter Davidson