Health care in police watch-houses: a challenge and an opportunity

Julia L Crilly, Caitlin Brandenburg, Stuart A Kinner, Ed Heffernan, Joshua Byrnes, Cathy Lincoln, Paul Gardiner, Peter Davidson, Annabel Somerville, Daniel Wilson, David Green, Stuart Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate/opinionResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)


Police watch-house detainees have complex health needs that involve multiple agencies and require coordinated, interagency solutions

Police watch-houses (Queensland term) are buildings designed “for the temporary holding of prisoners before prisoners are released or transferred to a corrective services facility or detention centre”.1 They may also be used to hold people who are intoxicated, appear mentally ill, or are awaiting trial.2 Watch-houses are also referred to as police cells, station cells, lock-ups, holding cells, jails, and custody suites in other Australian jurisdictions and countries. “Temporary” means “overnight or for 24 hours or longer”,1 and can be as long as 4 weeks.2, 3 In Queensland, watch-houses are staffed primarily by police officers, in some cases assisted by civilian watch-house officers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-289
Number of pages3
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number6
Early online date28 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2022
Externally publishedYes


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