Police Involvement in Involuntary Psychiatry Admission: A Report From the Dublin Involuntary Admission Study

Psychiatr Serv. 2020 Dec 1;71(12):1292-1295. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201900614. Epub 2020 Oct 14.


Objective: The authors sought to compare diagnostic and demographic factors among patients who were involuntarily admitted to psychiatry care with or without police involvement.

Methods: All admissions to psychiatry units in two university hospitals in Ireland were studied over a 3.5-year period.

Results: Of 2,715 admissions, 443 (16%) were involuntary; complete data were available for 390 of these involuntary admissions, of which 78 (20%) involved police. Patients with police involvement did not differ significantly from those without police involvement in gender, marital and employment status, or diagnosis. The former patients had a longer mean admission duration and were more likely to be admitted under the "risk criterion" of the Mental Health Act 2001. Multivariable testing indicated that these variables do not independently predict police involvement.

Conclusions: The diagnostic or demographic factors examined did not contribute to police involvement in involuntary admission. Features such as homelessness, social exclusion, or criminogenic factors might underlie police involvement.

Keywords: Emergency mental health care; Involuntary commitment; Law enforcement; Police.

MeSH terms

  • Commitment of Mentally Ill
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Ireland / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Police
  • Psychiatry*