New Service Supports Vulnerable People Through the Criminal Justice System

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Vulnerable individuals in the criminal justice system will now be supported by a new service delivered by Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT) and Lincolnshire Action Trust (LAT).

The Lincolnshire Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion service is the first of its kind in the county. It provides support for people who are identified as having potential vulnerabilities, when they first encounter the criminal justice system, suspected of having committed a crime.

Police are able to refer people they identify as being potentially vulnerable to the service. Those vulnerabilities could include (but are not limited to) mental health problems, learning disabilities, drug and alcohol problems, housing and more.

Individuals referred to the service are seen by the team – made up of six LPFT clinicians and nine LAT practitioners. Information is then shared with police and courts to determine the best course of action for the individual.  The service could establish extra support if the person remains within the criminal justice system, or if appropriate the individual could be diverted into health, social care or other support services.

Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, the new service is currently operating in police custody and provides information electronically to the courts and other agencies.

As demonstrated by liaison and diversion services already operating in other counties, this helps generate a more consistent outcome for vulnerable individuals and ensures they get the support required to properly engage with relevant services.

Brendan Hayes, Chief Executive of LPFT said: “We are thrilled to be working with LAT and providing this brand new service for the people of Lincolnshire.

“There is a demand for this service in our county, as those in the criminal justice system tend to have high health and social care needs; the prevalence rates for personality disorders, psychosis, attention disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and self-harm are notably high too.”

“We have watched the development, roll out and successes of other liaison and diversion services with great interest, and we are now pleased to be in a position to offer an effective service to support people as they navigate the criminal justice system in Lincolnshire.”

A national framework of liaison and diversion services was created in response to The Bradley Report – Lord Bradley’s 2009 review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the criminal justice system.

Lincolnshire is the final police force area to get the service, meaning there is now national coverage across England and Wales.

Alison Goddard, Chief Executive of LAT, said: “We were delighted that LPFT won the contract to deliver Lincolnshire’s first liaison and diversion service in partnership with us at LAT.

“Our intention is that by helping people to engage with services, the issues that led to their entry into the criminal justice system will be resolved or improved to prevent them from re-entering it in the future. This will enable them to reintegrate into their communities as a positive and productive citizen and reduce future victims of crime.”

Lincolnshire’s Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion service, commissioned by NHS England/Improvement, is operating seven days a week between the hours of 9am and 9pm, 365 days a year.

To find out more visit: www.lpft.nhs.uk/liaison-and-diversion

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