A new NHS England & NHS Improvement funded service to support vulnerable people coming into contact with the criminal justice system across Warwickshire has been launched.
Warwickshire Liaison & Diversion Service is an extension to the service currently offered across Coventry and provides an all age service supporting people with a range of vulnerabilities, including mental health, learning disabilities, housing and educational needs, who come into contact with the Police.
Warwickshire Liaison & Diversion Service, which is provided by Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust (CWPT), includes qualified health professionals working alongside officers within the police custody suites to identify vulnerable individuals who are then offered an assessment to explore key vulnerabilities, and provide a timely referral into services which will meet their needs.
Alison Tonge, Director of Commissioning at NHS England and NHS Improvement (Midlands) said: “This new service is a fantastic opportunity to support vulnerable individuals that come into contact with the Criminal Justice System, and a great example of partners working together to support reducing the risk of offending within our communities.”
Fiona Rose, Liaison and Diversion Team Lead at CWPT, said: “When police officers come into contact with someone suspected of committing an offence who they believe to be exhibiting signs of poor mental health, learning disability or other vulnerabilities they will call the Liaison and Diversion service who will offer an assessment of the individual’s needs.
“The service will then provide support to the individual,, to help them access the most appropriate services to meet their needs. If needed the service can also provide a court report to the magistrates to support with sentencing decisions and outcomes.
“The aim is to provide support to address the underlying issues that may be contributing to the individual’s offending behaviour and consequently putting themselves and others at risk.
“Liaison and Diversion is an all age all vulnerability service funded by NHS England, who with the support of all agencies are seeking to tackle the cycle of reoffending across the country. Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust are proud to be part of this and be working in partnership with Warwickshire Police.”
Chief Inspector Adrian Davis from Warwickshire Police added: “It’s important that our staff and officers now engage with the Liaison and Diversion teams in the custody suites to better understand their work and support with ongoing investigations.”
“In addition to their core work both in custody and post arrest, the Liaison and Diversion Service may also be able to help with a course of action or provide other meaningful advice to Officers who are planning to bring particularly challenging members of the public into custody who are already known to other agencies.”
“While we already have services in place, the addition of the Liaison and Diversion service means we can continue working with partners to better support those attending our custody suites and allow greater scrutiny of care.”
A launch event was held on Friday (Jan 31), where guests from other partner agencies were invited to hear case studies and further details on how the service will help people coming into contact with the criminal justice service.
The service has already been rolled out in custody suites across Warwickshire, and has been operating successfully in Coventry for some time. For more information about the Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion Service, visit CWPT’s website.