People who come into contact with the police, courts or probation often need extra support to help turn their lives around and stay out of prison. This new Liaison and Diversion Service operating across Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin will identify the health and care needs of vulnerable people who come into contact with the criminal justice system and find appropriate services to support those needs. 

The new service is funded by NHS England and NHS Improvement, and is being delivered by Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, who are a leading provider of health services in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

Operating within the Shrewsbury and Telford Police Custody Suites, Liaison and Diversion practitioners will work with people who have learning disabilities, mental health problems, experience of alcohol or substance misuse, housing or financial issues. They will assess health needs and arrange the necessary support.

Roz Lindridge, Director of Health and Justice Commissioning for NHS England and NHS Improvement said: “This investment will ensure that people are fully supported by health services at a difficult time in their lives. We aim to help people avoid ending up in prison for minor offences when their behaviour is the result a mental or physical health problem. This also saves taxpayers the cost of inappropriate prosecutions and prison sentences.”

Howard King, Managing Director for the Specialist Care Group of Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said “This service will make such a difference to the lives of those people who come into contact with the criminal justice system. We offer health assessments and short-term support for people of any age. My team provides drug and alcohol services throughout the country and we will be building on our experience of working in prisons. I am very grateful to the partnership of organisations across Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin who will be supporting us over the coming years.”   

Available seven days a week, the team will work in partnership with other organisations in the area including local councils, education and employment services, housing and financial services.