A DEDICATED service helping vulnerable people at Winchester Crown Court was celebrated during a special event.

Last month the Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion (CJLD) service of Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust invited stakeholders to an event which hailed the service following its creation with the appointment of advanced practitioner and court lead, Carrie Ord, in September.

Operating across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, the CJLD service is responsible for assessing and supporting vulnerable individuals who have been identified as suspects and provides specialist support and advice to professionals within the criminal justice system. The nature of vulnerabilities the service works with includes people with mental health needs, learning disabilities, communication issues, and those suffering exploitation and abuse.

Based in Winchester, Carrie ensures that service users’ needs are considered and identified correctly. She provides support to those going through the crown court process and creates specialist reports, which inform the criminal justice process. This helps to ensure that factors that have contributed to the users’ contact with the justice system are addressed appropriately.

Speaking at the event, His Honour Judge Cutler CBE, said: “The service provides a really important way to be able to identify issues. I am a very pleased and proud judge to have CJLD here in court.”

Kishan Waas, head of health and justice division, for Berkshire Healthcare, said: “The CJLD service has always been available in Hampshire, but there hasn’t been a dedicated service at Winchester Crown Court until now.”

Guests included judges, CPS administrators, lawyers, barristers, probation officers, NHS England Commissioners, representatives from the social justice charity, NACRO, and even visiting chaplains.

Carrie concluded: “This event was about bringing together all of the professionals I deal with on a day-to-day basis and providing an overview of what we have achieved so far at Winchester Crown Court and what we hope to accomplish in the future.”