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The Department of Health announced on 4 January 2014 that an extra £25 million of funding for mental health nurses and other mental health professionals to work with police stations and courts so that people with mental health conditions and substance misuse problems get the right treatment as quickly as possible with the aim to help reduce re-offending.
NHS England is working with other government departments including Public Health England, Home Office, Ministry of Justice to test out a new model in Liaison and Diversion services to ensure quality of services are consistent across England regardless of where someone is based.
The ten trial sites commissioned by NHS England are: Merseyside; London; Avon and Wiltshire; Leicester; Sussex; Dorset; Sunderland and Middlesbrough; Coventry; South Essex; and Wakefield. By April 2014 these sites commence the rollout of the new service.
These services will be evaluated and if successful, extended to the rest of the country by 2017. This will mean people with mental health illnesses, substance misuse problems and learning disabilities who are suspected of committing an offence and come into contact with the police will have an assessment of their health needs, including mental health, which will be shared with police and the courts. This information may be shared with police and the courts to help ensure decisions made about charging and sentencing take into consideration an individual’s health needs. It will also mean treatment is given sooner which will help stop re-offending.
Liaison and Diversion services should ensure that individuals can access appropriate interventions, in order to reduce health inequalities, improve physical and mental health, tackle offending behaviours including substance misuse, reduce crime and re-offending and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system.
Other agencies involved with this pilot scheme are HM Court and Tribunals Service, Youth Justice Board and NACRO.