Race, Mental Health & Criminal Justice:
Solutions for Better Practice
National Mental Health Policing Portfolio
DI Frankie Westoby
Staff Officer - National Policing Lead for Mental Health
Commander Christine Jones
National Mental Health Policing Portfolio Lead
To set out the challenges the criminal justice system has in
working with people with mental health problems
To identify the initiatives the police are taking to provide a
service that meets the needs of people with mental health
needs from black and minority ethnic communities in
contact with the criminal justice system
The Police Experience
Part of core business
Police cells
24/7 Service
Calls to health settings
Independent Commission for Mental Health &
• 28 Recommendations
• Lord Victor and Commissioner Hogan-Howe
met in April 2014.
• 12 Recommendations achieved, 14
underway and 2 not progressed (not for
• Report to be published in December 2014
by the MPS to update on the actions.
• Recognised that many other Forces are
implementing the recommendations from
this report.
Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat
• ACPO part of the working group to develop the
Concordat and now a signatory.
• Published in February 2014 by the Department of Health
– Norman Lamb Minister for Health and Social Care.
• Specific actions for police nationally in relation to
datasets, best practice and information share.
Street Triage
• 9 Dept of Health Funded Street Triage Schemes
• 17 Locally funded Schemes
• All the schemes are slightly different and these need to
await proper evaluation to ascertain what is best
practice. This may vary between Forces depending on
• Early indications suggest the areas working really well:
• Understanding each partners role and demands on
• Early Information sharing is providing a positive
outcome for the service user.
Legislation and Codes of Practice Review
• Home Affairs Select Committee Inquiry into Mental Health
and Policing
• Review of legislation – S136 and S135 – being led by
Home Officer and Department of Health.
• Review of Mental Health Codes of Practice.
Liaison and Diversion – Definition
• Liaison and Diversion is a service that identifies a person with
one or more:
mental health
learning disability
substance misuse
• vulnerabilities at the point they come into contact with the
justice system; this includes police custody suites and Courts.
• L&D is an identification, assessment & referral service giving an
individual access to appropriate treatment and support.
Liaison and Diversion – background
• 20-40% of custody detainees have mental health issues
(uncertain figures as issues often hidden from Custody Officer)
• 70% of prison population have mental health issues
• Detainees have higher incidence of learning difficulties and
alcohol misuse
• 50% suffer from anxiety and depression (compared to 15% of
general population)
• Higher suicide risk.
Liaison and Diversion – pilots
• 10 National pilot schemes – 11 NE London Boroughs
• Standard service specification to be used from April 2014 to
improve consistency
• Evaluation by 2015 and a full business case to Treasury
• Phased roll out of L&D services, increasing to 50% of
population in England and then 100% by March 2017.
• NHS London funding additional schemes in London with every
Borough covered from 2014
• Increasingly it is being recognised that it is not for police
officers to diagnose.
• Officers need to identify that an individual is vulnerable and
that they need to do something about it. This will enable
early intervention – prevention.
• National Portfolio working closely with the College of
Policing to review vulnerability training and processes that
currently are being used by Forces, to identify best
The Challenges for the Police Service
• Increasing demand at a time of
decreasing budgets and resources
• Creating Strategic Partnerships
which feature evidence based joint
commissioning of services
Ensuring staff feel confident and
equipped to deal with people with
mental health and those that are
Understanding where the police
role starts and ends
Police representation on relevant
Health meetings to influence
commissioning of services.

Race, Mental Health & Criminal Justice: Solutions for Better