Connect project - Co-Production of Policing Evidence, Research and Training: Focus Mental Health

Connect is a collaborative project between the University of York and North Yorkshire Police on new approaches to dealing with mental health problems. Building on existing partnerships, the project involves multiple research streams to find better ways of dealing with mental health issues through increased collaboration, the identification of ‘what works’, the production and sharing of research information and improved training. Its aim is to contribute to a culture change in how issues of mental health are dealt with, by helping the police to properly identify key issues and collaborate with other agencies to improve outcomes.

York Trials Unit is leading on two research streams for Connect:

  • A cluster randomised controlled trial of a new training programme developed by colleagues in Social Policy and Social Work in collaboration with the College of Policing. The aim of this RCT is to see if the specially designed training package delivered face to face can improve outcomes for individuals who have mental ill health and for police handling of their situations.
  • A series of systematic reviews on mental health and policing related to: identifying mental vulnerability; recording relevant information using available systems; responding using appropriate internal and external resources; referring vulnerable people into services to provide longer-term assistance; reviewing incidents to make sure that risks have been effectively managed. The reviews will establish what evidence is currently available about what works and areas where further research is required.

The Connect Project is funded by The College of Policing, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Home Office, as part of the £10 million Police Knowledge Fund launched to encourage collaboration between universities and police forces. For further information please go to

Privacy Notice: How we use your research data


Funder(s): College of Policing, HEFCE and the Home Office
Start date: September 2015
Expiry date: March 2017


Internal Staff

York Trials Unit members David Torgerson, Catherine Hewitt, Catriona McDaid, Alison Booth, Arabella Clarke, Adwoa Parker and Kat Chatterton are working on the RCT with Martin Webber and Nicola Moran from the Department of Social Policy and Social Work.

Catriona McDaid, Alison Booth, Arabella Clarke, Adwoa Hughes-Morley and Kat Chatterton are undertaking the systematic reviews in consultation with Inspector Bill Scott, Mental Health Partnership Development Inspector for North Yorkshire Police.

External Collaborators

Representatives of North Yorkshire Police and the Police and Crime Commissioners Office are working closely with York Trials Unit and the other University of York departments involved in the Connect project. These are Public Health and Society Unit in the Department of Health Sciences, York Management School, the Institute for Effective Education and the Department of Politics. The Principle Investigator for the project is Professor Martin Smith, Head of the Department of Politics.

Trials and Statistics Research in the Department of Health Sciences