Officers and custody staff in Barnsley have teamed up with the NHS to provide a much-needed service to offenders and victims.
The Liaison and Diversion team work with young people and adults within the criminal justice system to identify vulnerability. The teams are co-located within police and court settings to enable screening and assessment of those identified as being vulnerable. This approach enables joint informed decision making, with a long-term view to improving health and social care outcomes as well as reducing reoffending.
Additional to this, the team has a dedicated, local authority funded, Mental Health Associate Practitioner (MHAP) that works within the Safer Neighbourhood Service teams to provide support to victims and suspects of crime. The MHAP is able to provide support with mental health, isolation, fear and assist with vulnerabilities to ensure the victim is not a target for repeated crime.
The case study below outlines the support an MHAP was able to provide to a victim of crime.
Team Manager, Emma Robinson said: “The NHS England funded Liaison and Diversion services in conjunction with the Safer Neighbourhood Service provides excellent partnership working opportunities which allow us to engage with local residents who require support from a range of different services.
“This case highlights the vast benefits of partnership working between South West Yorkshire Partnership Foundation Trust, Barnsley Council, South Yorkshire Police and other key stakeholders to address vulnerabilities and work towards long-term solutions.”
A 70-year-old man from Barnsley was a victim of financial abuse, harassment and undesirable behaviour. The victim was befriended and taken advantage of in his own home. When he stopped providing money, the offenders started to harass him and instigated anti-social behaviour towards him and his property.
The victim, scared to leave his home, locked himself away in his bedroom and his health deteriorated. A concerned neighbour called 999. Our officers attended and required an ambulance as the victim was unconscious and suffering from dehydration and pneumonia.
Following his discharge from hospital, Police Community Support Officer (PSCO) Tom Berry was assigned the case to address the unwanted behaviour and look for long term solutions. PSCO Berry identified how the victim would have been an easy target and had some concerns for his mental state.
PCSO Berry referred the victim to Becky who is a Mental Health Associate Practitioner. Working with the victim, Becky was able to provide social support to him; enrolling him on a number of projects and groups, providing emotional support, practical support with his finances and assisted him with the process of a move closer to his family.
The victim said: “Without Tom and Becky I would not be alive today. I owe my life to them.
“Last year when I was experiencing this unwanted behaviour, I wanted to die, I locked myself away and never wanted to come out again.
“With the help of Tom and Becky I can see that my life is worth living and I am not alone.
“They are worth their weight in gold and I am forever thankful.”
PSCO Tom Berry said: “My role is to protect people within my community, this isn’t always about tackling offenders and quite often it can be about providing people with a listening ear and ensuring that they have the right processes in place to not become a target and to feel safe in their own homes.”
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