Police respondents (N=35) were surveyed as part of a larger study on professionals' attitudes towards mentally disordered offenders. The other key groups included in the research were approved social workers, probation officers and mental health practitioners. During the interview respondents were asked to complete an attitudinal questionnaire after reading a case description of a person named Tom (see Appendix), whose behaviour showed signs of aggression (“sudden outbursts of anger”), and violence (“strike out at his wife”) and symptoms suggesting schizophrenia (American Psychiatric Association 1994). The use of a case description has the advantage of presenting the subject within a more realistic context than would normally be achieved through using arbitrary labels such as ‘mentally disordered offender’ (Hall et al. 1993).