Maria Miller MP recently met up with the Basingstoke-based members of the Hampshire Liaison and Diversion Service (HLDS), led by Pauline O’Callaghan. The team of mental health professionals provide support to vulnerable people who are in the criminal justice system, either at the Magistrates Court in Basingstoke, or at the Police Custody Centre at the Viables. Team members work closely with staff in both places, and with many other partner organisations, such as children’s and adults’ mental health services, drug and alcohol services, veterans’ services and learning disabilities services. Their aim is to help meet the needs of vulnerable people who may otherwise not fully understand the processes and procedures, and may need to be referred for further help from other partners.
The Basingstoke team is one of three in Hampshire, which were part of a pilot for this liaison and diversion service.  Following the success of the pilot, the NHS now has plans to roll the service out nationwide.
Maria said: “Many people who find themselves in the criminal justice system have significant mental health problems. This team of North Hampshire health professionals has demonstrated that expert help at this critical time can help to reduce delay in the criminal justice system and reduce re-offending, as people are less likely to re-offend if they get the specialist help they need.”
“What started as a Government funded pilot between the NHS and the criminal justice system in Hampshire has proved successful both for offenders and in cutting the costs of reoffending; it is now being rolled out nationwide.”