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Police and mental health Trust work together to support vulnerable people

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After a successful pilot project within Cleveland Police, a service to support vulnerable individuals in the criminal justice system is continuing to be delivered by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation Trust (TEWV) within Cleveland Police and has been extended to also cover Durham Constabulary.

TEWV has been commissioned by NHS England, following a successful tendering process, to test a new model of liaison and diversion. The model aims to ensure individuals with a vulnerability are provided with the right treatment and support at the earliest possible stage in the criminal justice system.

Mental health nurses and other professionals are working in police custody suites and courts to identify and assess a mental health problem, substance misuse, learning difficulty or other vulnerability any individual may have. Those identified are then supported through the criminal justice system by the liaison and diversion team and referred for treatment or support services if required.

The service was originally part of the first 10 trial schemes commissioned by NHS England from April 2014 and has now been extended to cover both Darlington and Durham police stations.

The all age liaison and diversion service aims to work jointly with the police and courts to help adults and young people who have entered the criminal justice system and also are suspected to have a vulnerability such as a mental health issue or learning disability to get the right treatment at the right time. TEWV staff work with police and court staff to help identify those with problems. It is hoped that this collaborative approach will help to reduce re-offending.

Lisa Taylor, head of offender health and community services of the liaison diversion scheme said: “We are dedicated to the provision of excellent mental health services and working closely with local police and courts will give offenders with mental ill health or a learning disability the opportunity to get the right treatment as quickly as possible. We have been working very well with Cleveland Police and are very much looking forward to working in partnership with Durham Constabulary."

Durham’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Ron Hogg, said: "The new liaison and diversion scheme receives my full support as this will improve access to health and social care services for people of all ages suffering with mental health issues, drug and alcohol related issues and individuals with learning disabilities, and divert individuals out of the criminal justice system.

"This should ultimately result in the reduction of offending and re-offending by these individuals and keep our communities safe and improve their outcome."

Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Mr Coppinger said: “It’s vital that vulnerable people are identified early on in the judicial system so police and partners can offer them appropriate professional support and safeguarding in custody, before and during court and during any bail period afterwards.

“We have helped and supported many people in custody who have learning or communication difficulties, mental health issues, or substance misuse problems among others. Liaison and diversion is in its early stages however the signs are promising, 97% of young people accepted, when offered, liaison and diversion services. Taking a holistic approach to helping vulnerable people not only benefits them, but the agencies supporting them and the wider community."  


For further information please contact the communications team, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust on 01325 552223.  Out of hours on 07920297057.


Notes to editors

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV) provides a range of mental health, learning disability and eating disorders services for the 1.6 million people living in County Durham, the Tees Valley, Scarborough, Whitby, Ryedale, Harrogate, Hambleton and Richmondshire.

TEWV has over 6,000 staff working out of c.180 sites, and an annual income of £291m. We deliver our services by working in partnership with seven local authorities and primary care trusts, a wide range of voluntary organisations, as well as service users, their carers and the public. The services are spread over a wide geographical area of around 3,600 square miles, which includes coastal, rural and industrial areas.

More information about the Liaison Diversion Scheme email Lisa Taylor, head of offender health and community services of the Liaison Diversion Scheme at lisa.taylor34@nhs.net 

Durham PCC’s refreshed Police and Crime Plan 2015-17 now includes mental health as a key area of focus and can be viewed at: http://www.durham-pcc.gov.uk/Your-PCC/Police-and-Crime-Plan/Police-and-Crime-Plan.aspx

Diverting people from offending - with a focus on rehabilitation and preventing re-offending – is a priority in Barry Coppinger’s Police and Crime Plan 2015-2017.

Posted on Friday 15th May 2015
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