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Newham police stations and courts welcome mental health teams

14:51 03 April 2014

In a bid to cut reoffending in the capital mental health teams will be placed in police stations and courts in the borough.

The new scheme launches today in north east London and aims to tackle high rates of mental health needs amongst people in the criminal justice system.

It is hoped it will improve health outcomes by enabling vulnerable people to get help with their mental health needs as well as reduce the burden on the criminal justice system by saving police and court time.

Vulnerable adults and younger people with suspected mental health issues also suspected of committing an offence will be assessed and referred for treatment at the earliest opportunity.

Information about specific health requirements and vulnerabilities will also be taken into account when decisions about charging and sentencing are made.

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.”

She added: “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.”

Liz Felton, CEO at charity Together for Mental Wellbeing said they look forward to the partnership between voluntary and statutory agencies as this joined-up approach “gets to the heart” of the factors underlying offending.

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