Mental health teams working in police stations achieve reductions in reoffending

Specialist teams refer vulnerable detainees to treatment and support services

Teams of mental health workers are now available in half of England to support vulnerable people in police custody.

An initial 10 liaison and diversion teams were set up in April to help people with mental health conditions, learning disabilities or problems such as homeless or debt who have been arrested. This week a further 16 teams were established.

Specialist mental health workers have intervened in 16,315 adult cases and 2,450 children and young people’s cases. The support workers are able to make referrals to services such as local authority alcohol support, drugs services, anger management support and safeguarding. The model will be trialled for two years, with a potential to introduce it throughout England by 2017/18.

People helped under the first 10 schemes showed significant improvements in behaviour, reductions in reoffending and more appointments with professionals were kept.

NHS England head of health and justice, armed forces and public health, Kate Davies said: ‘By putting additional support and mental health expertise alongside the police and court workforce, we have turned a corner in service provision for vulnerable individuals.’

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