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Health system and law enforcement synergies for injury surveillance, control and prevention: a scoping review

Abstract

Background Healthcare providers and law enforcement (LE) officers are among the most common first responders to injuring events. Despite frequent interface between the health system (HS) and LE sectors, the published evidence that supports their collaboration in injury surveillance, control and prevention has not been comprehensively reviewed.

Methods We conducted a scoping review of literature published from 1990 to 2016 that focused on local and regional HS and LE collaborations in injury surveillance, control and prevention. Our aim was to describe what is known and what remains unexplored about these cross-sector efforts.

Results 128 articles were included in the final review. These were categorised by their focus on either surveillance activities or partnerships in injury control and prevention programmes. The majority of surveillance articles focused on road traffic injuries. Conversely, articles describing partnerships and programme evaluations primarily targeted the prevention of interpersonal violence.

Discussion This review yielded two major findings: overall, the combination of HS and LE injury data added value to surveillance systems, especially as HS data augmented LE data; and HS and LE partnerships have been developed to improve injury control and prevention. However, there are few studies that have evaluated the impact and sustainability of these partnerships.

Conclusions The current evidence to support HS and LE collaboration in injury surveillance and control and prevention programmes is heterogeneous. Notable gaps suggest ample opportunity for further research and programme evaluation across all types of injury.

  • Surveillance
  • Safe Community
  • Violence
  • Health Services
  • Public Health
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