Help for vulnerable in the criminal justice system

Supporting vulnerable people within the criminal justice system across Worcestershire

Individuals within the criminal justice system are set to receive extra support with the launch of the new Worcestershire Liaison & Diversion Service.

This new service, commissioned by NHS England, is an all age service which targets a range of vulnerabilities including mental health, learning disabilities, substance misuse, housing and education.

Worcestershire Liaison & Diversion Service operates at key points of the criminal justice pathway including police custody, courts and the community, supporting individuals through effective liaison into appropriate support services.

This service aims to improve access to healthcare and support services, reduce health inequalities, and support the reduction in offending behaviours.

The team comprises of social workers, specialist mental health and learning disability nurses who work alongside police officers and other agencies to support people who come into contact with the police.

Steve Byng, Head of Specialist Mental Health Services at Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust said: “We are excited about launching this new service across Worcestershire, helping some of the most vulnerable people in society.”

Steve added: “There is a lot of evidence that shows the positive impact that this type of hands on practical support provides and we hope that by engaging with people at an early stage it will enable them to access the help they need in a timely manner.”

Melvena Anderson, General Manager for Mental Health Services at Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust commented: “Building on our experience across the Black Country, we are looking forward to working with local agencies to support those most in need.

“The service makes a big difference to those it supports and we look forward to seeing the service progress across Worcestershire.”

Alison Tonge, Director of Commissioning Operations – NHS England (West 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.”

Inspector Carl Paskin from West Mercia Police commented: “Liaison and Diversion involves NHS staff being based within police stations to work closely with custody staff and conduct liaison meetings with detainees.

“Our aim is to provide support to detainees to address the underlying issues that may be contributing to their offending behaviour, which could consequently be putting themselves and others at risk.

“The service provided to individuals will extend beyond police custody and have scope for further outreach work and ongoing support.”

This new service is being delivered in partnership by Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust who already run the Liaison and Diversion service across the Black Country.