BASINGSTOKE’S MP found out what work is being done to help people in the criminal justice system who have mental health issues.

Maria Miller visited the Basingstoke-based members of the Hampshire Liaison and Diversion Service (HLDS), led by Pauline O’Callaghan.

The team of mental health professionals provide support to vulnerable people who are in the criminal justice system, either at the magistrates court in Basingstoke, or at the Police Custody Centre at the Viables.

The HLDS works closely with staff in both places, and with many other partner organisations, such as children’s and adults’ mental health services, drug and alcohol services, veterans’ services and learning disabilities services.

Following her visit Mrs Miller said: “Many people who find themselves in the criminal justice system have significant mental health problems.

“This team of North Hampshire health professionals has demonstrated that expert help at this critical time can help to reduce delay in the criminal justice system and reduce re-offending, as people are less likely to re-offend if they get the specialist help they need.”

“What started as a Government funded pilot between the NHS and the criminal justice system in Hampshire has proved successful both for offenders and in cutting the costs of reoffending; it is now being rolled out nationwide.”