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Sixteen new ‘Liaison and Diversion’ teams launched

NHS England has launched 16 new ‘Liaison and Diversion’ (L&D) teams, ensuring that half the country is now covered by the service for vulnerable people in police custody and the courts.

The L&D teams are a new service to make sure people with mental health conditions, learning disabilities or other vulnerabilities such as debt or homelessness can access specialist support when in contact with the criminal justice system.

The new teams bring the total to 26 schemes nationwide and cover 28.5 million people, or half of the country.

The first wave of 10 schemes, which see specialist mental health workers working alongside police officers, were launched in April last year. In the first 12 months the services have helped 16,315 adult cases and 2,450 children and young people’s cases.

Kate Davies OBE, head of health & justice, armed forces and public health at NHS England, said: “This expansion is a big milestone for Liaison and Diversion services because we are now reaching out to so many people.

“The results from the first wave of 10 show just how in demand these services really are and the results so far have proven how it can dramatically change people’s lives.

“When you suffer from a mental health condition for example and have no support, custody can be a very lonely place; 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.”

When someone with a vulnerability is identified a detailed assessment of their needs takes place by the L&D team, resulting in a referral to support or treatment services such as local authority alcohol support services, drug services and support, anger management support services or referral for children safeguarding among many others.

They can also help the police and courts do their jobs by: providing up-to-date information on a person’s state of mind; benefit the individual’s health; contribute to a reduction in re-offending; and reduce the likelihood that the individual will reach crisis-point.

The scheme is a two-year trial and the model will be independently evaluated to inform a business case for services to cover all of the English population by 2017-18.

The April/May 2015 edition of PSE is now available for FREE using the new PSE App, available on iOS and Android. Search ‘Public Sector’ in the App Store / Google Play. 


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