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Reading pilot will change the course of people's lives

On Tuesday 14 November, our ‘voluntary attendance pilot’ was launched in Reading by us and the Howard League.

The new scheme aims to intervene and help people at the earliest opportunity, including pre-arrest and on voluntary attendance/interview at a police station if suspected of a criminal offence, before being charged. Traditionally, resources have been focused in police custody suites and magistrates’ courts, where people are arrested, charged and sentenced. This approach will assess the needs of the people who are at risk and prevent them getting into trouble in the first place.

After receiving national recognition at the Howard League Community Awards, recognising projects that reduce crime and transform lives, our Liaison and Diversion team have built on their success by developing this new scheme.

Dr Gwen Bonner, Clinical Director (Reading), said: ‘We are absolutely delighted at the work the Liaison and Diversion service is providing with our partner agencies. Early intervention makes a massive difference in changing the course of people’s lives.’

Ivan Trethewey, NHS England National Health & Justice Team said: ‘Liaison and Diversion teams nationally are aiming to see voluntary attendance rise and custody statistics drop, through early intervention and support. I am really encouraged that Thames Valley Police are embracing the desire to improve referrals for people suspected of crime when there is no need to arrest.'

This scheme aims to diversify the way our Liaison and Diversion service approaches vulnerable people and is working towards developing an integrated process across the whole Thames Valley region.