06 January 2014
Mental health support in police custody suites
AWP is excited to annouce
its involvement in a national project to provide an assessment
and advice service for detainees in custody.
The new scheme will mean dedicated mental health professionals
(nurses and social workers) being based in the police custody
suites in Swindon, Melksham and Salisbury. Here, they will be able
to help police and courts staff to identify people with suspected
mental health problems, learning disabilities and other
impairments, with a view to completing assessments and making sure
their needs are met.
Avon and Wiltshire is fortunate to have been one of the 10 areas
across the country selected by the Department of Health to trial
this new way of working, using an extra £25 million of government
CARS has been operating in the Wiltshire courts for a number of
years and already operates in police custody suites in Bath and
Trinity Road (Bristol). The goal now is to provide the service in
all police custody suites and criminal courts across the AWP patch
and over the past 6 weeks CARS team leader Richard Evans, and CARS
Practitioner Kristina Rees have delivered mental health awareness
training to all of the Wiltshire Police custody staff, introducing
them to the team's work.
The new service will initially run Monday to Friday, 9-5 with a
view to extending to 7 days a week, 8am-8pm.
Richard Evans says: "We are delighted to be able to offer this
service to ensure that people coming into the criminal justice
system with mental health illnesses, learning disabilities and
substance misuse problems get the treatment and support they need
as early as possible. By giving treatment sooner, the hope is that
we will also be able to reduce the likelihood of re-offending."
These services will be evaluated by the Department of Health and
if successful, extended to the rest of the country by 2017.
This scheme is now being covered in national media and
Jane Adsnderson CARS service manager has already been on
local radio and TV talking about how we are progessing
this work in AWP.