AIM: Improved recognition across the criminal justice system of mental health distress experienced by both victims and offenders, leading to:
- referral pathways into appropriate support agencies, and
- improved access to mental health care for those in contact with the criminal justice system
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
- We have now launched the Victims First service which allows for a centralised referral pathway for any victim, witness or family member of victim who require additional support.
- We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police to create new guidance and put a technical solution in place which allows officers and staff in contact with victims to check on their welfare and where support is required refer them directly to Victims First.
- Victims First has also being promoted to the public and other partners to ensure that people that need support, regardless of whether they have reported the crime to the police, are aware of Victims First and know how to access it.
Thames Valley Police
- The Policing Strategy Unit has developed guidance to ensure officers and staff are aware of how to refer victims into the Victims First service.
- The quality of Victim Contact Contracts continue to be monitored by service improvement, and Thames Valley Police is currently running a "dotting the i's" and "crossing the t's" internal campaign to ensure contract quality is high. The percentage of offences per month which have a Victim Contact Contract has risen from 34% (in July 2017) to 78% (in April 2018).
- New guidelines have recently been published in relation to dealing with detainee's in custody with mental health issues.
- Criminal Justice (CJ) is supporting the Force Liaison Advisors in delivering a more streamlined approach to the deployment of Family Liaison Officers (FLOS) to deliver a better service to the victims of the most serious crimes. This will contribute to improving response to dealing with witnesses.
- New internal operational guidelines have been released in relation to dealing with detainees in custody with mental health issues.
- Criminal Justice continues to work with Liaison and Diversion and Mountain healthcare to provide help and support for all detainees in the custody environment. CJ has also been working with the Met Police to review their Custody divert scheme which provides education, employment and training to a specific cohort of 18-25 year olds. Whilst positive, we are unable to introduce the scheme at this time due to funding.
- Changes to detention in the Mental Health Act which gives the police power to remove someone from a public place to a place of safety has led to a reduction in the number of unlawful detentions in police custody. Staff have been trained to align with new mental health guidance.