Round table event brings together justice liaison partners to highlight good practice
Date: 06 July 2017
KMPT Chief Executive Helen Greatorex welcomed Lord Keith Bradley and Jenny Talbot OBE, Director, Care not Custody, Prison Reform Trust, to a multi-agency event at Kent Police Headquarters on Tuesday 27 June.
Lord Bradley, who has a long and committed interested in the NHS and justice system, met with representatives from KMPT, Kent Police, the magistrates’ courts, the National Probation Service, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Kent County Council (KCC). They spoke about current services, future plans and areas ripe for development. Seeing the service as particularly worthwhile, Lord Bradley was keen to find ways he could help the group move forward with improvements.
Helen Greatorex commented on the visit: “On 20 June, Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott, Kent Police and KMPT joined together to host the first joint mental health conference of its kind in the county. Sarah Newton MP joined us for the day and commented on the strength of the interminable agencies that were clearly being built through partnerships. The event not only brought together a wide range of stakeholders but launched the shared KMTP and Kent Police mental health strategy. Following the strategy launch we were pleased to welcome Lord Bradley to Kent for this opportunity for our teams to showcase what they’ve achieved but also to use his experience in this field to help push forward further developments.”
Gemma McSweeney, Service Manager – Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion Service (KMPT), gave an overview of the current Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion Service and the elements that are being improved. All agencies agreed that clear and regular communication is as crucial to each service as it is for those going through the criminal justice system. Speed and efficiency in overcoming barriers was highlighted as increasingly important, particularly with the introduction of new technology such as the virtual court system.
The opportunity to have all the agencies in one room gave our welcome visitors a good understanding of the liaison and diversion service offered in Kent. Lord Bradley shared learning from his visits to similar services across the country.
He then went on to see a custody suite in action at Medway Police Station. Lord Bradley was welcomed by Inspector Trevor Keeble who gave him a tour of the facilities. He was particularly interested in the virtual court capabilities as well as the bright lights of the smart water technology. Lord Bradley spent time talking with custody and liaison practitioners from both Kent Police and KMPT, who spoke candidly about what it was like to work in the team, the positive work they do and the potential for future improvements.
Commenting on his visit, Lord Bradley said: “It was informative hearing about the work of the Kent and Medway criminal justice liaison and diversion service, and especially to note the positive partnership working across health, social care and justice agencies. It’s important that individuals with mental health problems, learning disabilities and other needs who come into contact with the police are identified at an early stage and receive the necessary support. I was very encouraged by what I learned on my excellent visit.”
Kent Police’s Debbie Wade, Head of Custody and Healthcare, added: "We were pleased to welcome Lord Bradley to Kent Police to speak with him about the support provided to those with mental health issues.
"For example, he was keen to hear about our ongoing street triage pilot in Thanet where qualified health practitioners have been accompanying police officers attending incidents involving people who may be experiencing a mental health crisis.
"We also spoke about how people brought into custody now have access to specialists who are able to identify any vulnerabilities and signpost them to any support services they may require.
"Kent Police is committed to making sure those who experience a mental health crisis have access to the most appropriate care and treatment, and we were keen to demonstrate to Lord Bradley how we are achieving this through close partnership working with the NHS and other agencies."