Skip to menu | Skip to content |    A  A  A 


North East London NHS Foundation Trust leads the way in cutting re-offending
19 April 2014

North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) has joined three other healthcare providers in a new NHS England pilot which will see mental health teams placed in police stations and courts in London in a bid to cut reoffending by tackling the high rate of mental health needs amongst people in the criminal justice system.

The pilot scheme launched on Friday 4 April in Haringey, north east London, is being commissioned by NHS England in London and will reach more than 2.5 million people, covering 13 police custody suites and seven courts in Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering, Barnet, Enfield, Haringey, Islington, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham. Four providers consisting of both voluntary and statutory sector organisations will work in close partnership to deliver the scheme – charity Together for Mental Wellbeing, Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust, East London NHS Foundation Trust, and North East London Foundation Trust.

It is hoped that this scheme will improve health outcomes, by enabling vulnerable people to get help with their mental health needs when they most need it, as well as reduce the burden on the criminal justice system by saving police and court time.The scheme is one of 10 pilot being launched nationwide to test out a new model of liaison and diversion services to assess their impact on improving access to treatment, decreasing health inequalities, reducing the burden on police and court time and cutting the number of repeat arrests.It will mean vulnerable adults and younger people with suspected mental health issues, learning disabilities and/or substance misuse problems, who are suspected of committing an offence, can be assessed and referred for treatment at the earliest opportunity. 

Information about specific health requirements and vulnerabilities can also be taken into account when decisions about charging and sentencing are made. Evidence shows that around a third of young people who have committed offences have mental health needs, and a fifth have a learning disability. Personality disorders, psychosis, attention deficit disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and self-harm are all more common amongst offenders than in the general population.

Welcoming the new scheme, Bob Edwards, integrated care director at North East London NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We are delighted that north east London has been chosen to pilot this very worthy programme. NELFT is committed to ensuring that people in police custody have timely access to mental health assessment and care if deemed necessary in liaison with our colleagues in the police, courts, and other healthcare providers.”

Maria Kane, chief executive of Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust, said: "Our trust has a long tradition of working alongside the criminal justice system and I look forward to continuing to work with our partners to reduce health inequalities and repeat offending in the local population.”

Chief Superintendent Chris Bourlet, Metropolitan Police Service lead for liaison and diversion, said: "Mental health teams working in police stations is a very positive initiative that will ensure the most appropriate care and support is given sooner to those in need. "We know people coming into police custody are more likely to suffer from mental health issues and by working in partnership, we can make sure those people also get the most appropriate on-going support when they leave, by finding longer term solutions to health issues which may stop people coming back into police custody in the future."

Dr Alison Frater, head of public health and health in the justice system at NHS England in London, said: "People with mental health issues and other vulnerabilities who come into contact with the youth and adult justice systems often don’t get the support and treatment they need and even when they do, it doesn’t happen very quickly. 

"This pilot will help ensure individuals can get the right help in a timely manner, so we can cut health inequalities, improve physical and mental health, reduce crime and re-offending, and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system."

Lord Victor Adebowale, who as chair of the Independent Commission on Mental Health and Policing, recommended increased roll out of liaison and diversion services, added: "The high rates of mental health issues amongst prisoners suggest that the prison service has become a catch-all social and mental healthcare service, as well as a breeding ground for poor mental health. I welcome the pilot, as research has shown that investing in diversion now will make huge financial savings in the long term, improving mental health and reducing reoffending.”

Liz Felton, chief executive at charity Together for Mental Wellbeing said: "Over the last twenty years Together has helped to break the revolving door cycle for thousands of individuals with mental health needs. We are eager to utilise our experience to support NHS England to roll out this work more widely so that we can help even more Londoners experiencing health and social care inequalities to lead a life away from crime. "We look forward to this partnership between voluntary and statutory agencies as in our experience it is this joined-up approach that really gets to the heart of, and addresses the factors underlying someone’s offending.”

More on the web:

  • Latest News
    subscribe to RSS feed
  • People need support, not sanctions
  • Groundbreaking mental health project wins UEFA award
  • Vacancies for Voluntary Co-opted Members on the Health Scrutiny Committee
  • North East London NHS Foundation Trust Council of Governor elections – make your vote count
  • Job Opportunity - Redbridge Disability Consortium
  • Sick of Waiting! - Patient Transport Survey
  • BBC News - Patients sectioned 'because of pressure on beds'
  • Disabled students could be 'shut out' by government cuts
  • Council funds new credit union
  • Deeper cuts to adult social care packages planned as council budgets drop by 4%

Redbridge Concern for Mental Health
98-100 Ilford Lane, Ilford, Essex