A new NHS-funded service launched across Warwickshire will see police staff working with health professionals to try to reduce re-offending.
Under the scheme, called Warwickshire Liaison & Diversion Service, health professionals and police staff in custody suites look for signs of vulnerabilities which could be an underlying cause of a person's arrest.
These causes can include mental health issues, learning disabilities, housing and educational needs.
If these vulnerabilities are spotted, the person will be offered an assessment - with the ultimate aim of quickly referring them to specialist services to address the issues.
The service is funded by NHS England & NHS Improvement and provided by Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust (CWPT).
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 re-offending 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.
Its Warwickshire launch was marked by an event at Warwickshire Police HQ at Leek Wooton on January 31.
The event saw representatives from the NHS and the police hear case studies demonstrating the effectiveness of the service.
For more information about the service, visit www.covwarkpt.nhs.uk/search/health-service/criminal-justice-liaison-and-diversion-74