The Government has announced a £12m investment to extend the roll-out of liaison and diversion services in police custody suites and criminal courts across England.
Health Minister Alistair Burt MP announced the extra funding at a Care not Custody coalition event in Parliament on 12 July. Subject to evaluation, full roll-out should be achieved by 2020.
Liaison and diversion services are designed to improve the health and justice outcomes for adults and children who come into contact with the youth and criminal justice systems where a range of complex needs are identified as factors in their offending behaviour.
Together delivers liaison and diversion services across London, including two trial sites as part of the NHS England-led initiative to roll out Liaison and Diversion services nationally. The total population currently covered by both sites is 4.5 million people. We also support the delivery of the trial site in South Yorkshire through a partnership with Rotherham, Doncaster & South Humber (RDASH) NHS Foundation Trust.
Delivering against NHS England’s National Liaison and Diversion Operating Model, our liaison and diversion practitioners assess the needs of vulnerable individuals in magistrates’ courts, crown courts and police custody settings, working closely with a wide range of partners to ensure that these individuals have access to the right health and social care services. Our Criminal Justice Community Link Workers work alongside individuals throughout the criminal justice pathway to help them engage or re-engage with relevant services to tackle things like housing, addictions or debt, as well as their mental wellbeing. By helping people tackle the underlying causes of their offending, the likelihood of reoffending can be significantly reduced.
Linda Bryant, Director of Criminal Justice Services, said:
This vital new funding means many more people will have their mental health needs identified and met at the earliest opportunity when they come into contact with the criminal justice system. This can be the difference between them getting caught in a cycle of offending or breaking that cycle and starting a life away from crime.
As proud Care not Custody coalition members, we look forward to being part of this expansion and working with our partners to help make this much-needed service available across the whole country.
We deliver trial site 2 in partnership with West London Mental Health NHS Trust, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust and Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust.