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Police and Public Health: Innovation in practice – an overview of collaboration across England

A paper to support the October 2016 summit: ‘creating a shared purpose for policing and health’

This paper came about through a request to identify examples of good practice in collaborations between police and public health, to support the October 2016 national summit exploring the opportunities for creating a shared purpose for Policing and Public Health.

It is intended to highlight both historic and current initiatives, and present an overview of new work that has only just started or is on the horizon for implementation. Whilst much of the work included has been evaluated, there are examples where the evidence base and/or evaluation data are not yet available. The case studies come from across the country, and are presented with the aim of stimulating discussion and sharing of learning between agencies with a view to developing a consensus statement between police and public health.

It is recognised that this overview is limited in its ability to capture fully the innovative work happening between police and public health across England. Where a case study is presented on a particular topic and within a given local area, it does not imply that exemplary work on that same topic is not also happening elsewhere. Rather, the case studies are intended to a give a ‘snap shot’ of good practice in order to promote discussion and an exchange of knowledge and expertise.

It should also be noted that the paper is intended as a supporting document to the October 2016 summit, and as such may be subject to future amendments and alterations.

Information has been gathered using online searches and approaches to Public Health England centre staff and national leads, public health teams within Local Authorities, service providers, and Police Officers, via email, phone calls and face to face meetings.

There is an array of stories, all depicting a wealth of knowledge and experience, and lessons learned. These have been collated and presented in brief case studies, based on themes and emerging topic areas.

Core topics and themes
Through conversations with individuals from across both the public health and police workforces, the following topics emerged as core areas of priority work and collaboration:

  • violence prevention
  • drugs and alcohol
  • mental health
  • dementia
  • health and wellbeing
  • hot and cold weather risk
  • emerging infectious diseases
  • modern slavery/human trafficking

Broader themes were also apparent, notably:

  • vulnerable individuals/communities
  • early intervention/prevention
  • community cohesion
  • community assets/asset-based approaches
  • collaboration
  • intelligence sharing
  • addressing health inequalities