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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Police officers' perceptions and experiences with mentally disordered suspects

Farrugia, Laura, Gabbert, F, Milne, R and Cherryman, J (2016) Police officers' perceptions and experiences with mentally disordered suspects. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 49 (A). pp. 138-146. ISSN 0160-2527

Item Type: Article


Despite mentally disordered suspects being over-represented within the criminal justice system, there is a dearth of published literature that examines police officers' perceptions when interviewing this vulnerable group. This is concerning given that police officers are increasingly the first point of contact with these individuals. Using a Grounded Theory approach, this study examined 35 police officers' perceptions and experiences when interviewing mentally disordered suspects. Current safeguards, such as Appropriate Adults, and their experiences of any training they received were also explored. A specially designed questionnaire was developed and distributed across six police forces in England and Wales. Nine conceptual categories emerged from the data that highlighted how police officers' level of experience impacted upon their perceptions when dealing with this cohort. As a consequence, a new model grounded within Schema Theory has emerged termed Police Experience Transitional Model. Implications include the treatment and outcome of mentally disordered suspects being heavily dependent on whom they encounter within the criminal justice system.

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More Information

Uncontrolled Keywords: Mental disorder, Suspects, Police interview, Experience, Perceptions
Depositing User: Laura Farrugia


Item ID: 9521
Identification Number:
ISSN: 0160-2527
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Laura Farrugia: ORCID iD
ORCID for F Gabbert: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 18 May 2018 13:32
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2020 11:02


Author: Laura Farrugia ORCID iD
Author: F Gabbert ORCID iD
Author: R Milne
Author: J Cherryman

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing
Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Psychology


Psychology > Psychology

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