New criminal justice service for offenders with mental health and learning disability issues “at the forefront of national initiative”

Professor Louis Appleby, the National Clinical Director for Mental Health, visited Little Plumstead Hospital in Norfolk on Wednesday 9 May to find out more about the new criminal justice service for people with intellectual and development disabilities in the region.

The service, which is being run by the Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, together with the University of East Anglia, will provide assessment, consultation and risk management for service users, and the team will provide expert evidence and advice to the courts.

Dr Peter Langdon, Clinical Senior Lecturer at the Department of Psychological Sciences at Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, and Honorary Consultant Clinical Psychologist within the Trust, is running the service and explains: “Professor Appleby’s visit is timely and welcome.

“We were delighted to be able to give him a quick tour of the premises and explain what we are doing to meet the specialist needs of offenders with intellectual and other developmental disabilities in Norfolk.”

When the existing Criminal Justice Liaison Team suspects that a person who has been arrested may have an intellectual or other developmental disability, a referral to our Liaison and Diversion Team can be made to ensure that they get appropriate support through the criminal justice system.

“We will work collaboratively with the existing Criminal Justice Mental Health Team within Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, but specifically focus on supporting people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities”, Dr Langdon said.

The team is made up of clinical psychology, psychiatry and nursing who have expertise in providing services to people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. This liaison and diversion service links strongly to our inpatient service so that people can access the treatment they need more quickly.

The new service will complement existing services within the county, and is funded by the Department of Health. The new team will work collaboratively with the Criminal Justice Mental Health Team within Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust who focus upon providing services to offenders with mental health problems at the point of arrest, while in police custody or during court proceedings.

As well as presentations about the new criminal justice team, Professor Appleby also saw a presentation about the Criminal Justice Mental Health Team within Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust delivered by Mr Ian Trenholm, Deputy Service Manager.

Professor Appleby said: "Your services for offenders with mental ill-health and learning disability place you at the forefront of the national initiative on diversion. Your experience will help other trusts develop their offender health teams as we aim to meet the commitment of diversion services across the country by 2014."

New criminal justice service for offenders with mental health and learning disability issues

Caption left to right:
Dr Peter Langdon (HPFT / UEA), Prof Louis Appleby, Ian Trenholm manager of Liaison and Diversion services, Norfolk and Suffolk MH Trust.