Accrington Stanley Community Trust have begun the Operation DIVERT programme in Lancashire this week, to help make positive changes in young people’s lives that are in police custody.
Alongside seven other football Community Trusts, we will work in partnership with Lancashire Violence Reduction Network, Lancashire Police and New Era as well as working with 18 to 25-year-olds who are in police custody.
The DIVERT programme reduced reoffending from 27% to eight per cent at the Metropolitan Police Service and is now being adopted across four police custody suites in Lancashire: Preston, Blackburn, Blackpool and Lancaster.
Young people will be invited to engage with a DIVERT coach who will work to divert them away from crime. Arriving in police custody can be a particularly low point in a young adult’s life and DIVERT coaches use this time as a teaching moment. Coaches will work with young people to develop and work towards a plan to meet their education, training and employment goals.
Working with a DIVERT coach is voluntary, confidential and does not influence any criminal proceedings. Young people can reconnect with DIVERT after being released from prison.
AFC Fylde FC Community Trust, Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, Blackpool FC Community Trust, Fleetwood Town Community Trust, Preston North End Community and education Trust and Shrimps Trust Morecambe Football Club are also set to deliver the programme.
Inspector Dave Oldfield, Lancashire Violence Reduction Network said: “The DIVERT programme takes a public health approach to violence by addressing the reasons people offend. It helps young adults to find hope and explore opportunities so that they can improve their circumstances and build a life away from crime.
“Helping young people to make positive changes also improves the lives of their families and their communities. By reducing reoffending, we are also reducing the number of victims of crime.
“DIVERT has changed the lives of young adults in London and we are confident the programme can achieve the same success here in Lancashire.”
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Tackling crime and developing safe and confident communities are key priorities for me and this programme has been shown to make a real difference in helping offenders turn their lives around.
“This can only be a good thing as it makes our streets safer and reduces chances of reoffending.
“I fully support the ‘public health’ approach to violent crime. We continue to lose too many young lives to knife crime and serious violence and it’s crucial that all parts of our society work together to tackle it head-on and make our communities safer.
“Policing alone cannot prevent people offending and that is why I continue to support initiatives that break the cycle offenders all too often find themselves trapped in, moving them away from a life of crime.”
If you have any information about crime in Lancashire, please contact the police on lancashire.police.uk/reportonline, call 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
For more information please contact ASCT Custody Intervention Coach Shane Hudson on shane.hudson@stanley trust.co.uk or 01254 475013.