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DIVERT is a custody-based intervention programme designed to reduce reoffending, funded by the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit.

It is delivered in police custody suites by the New Era Foundation and partners. In Oxfordshire OUitC is the delivery partner, employing a dedicated Custody Intervention Coach.

The programme addresses a gap in the statutory provision for young adults between 18-25 years of age, aims to divert them away from crime and is in operation in several police custody suites across the Thames Valley and in other areas such as London and Lancashire.

DIVERT can work with young adults whilst criminal proceedings are in progress. It works in parallel with the criminal justice system and tailors the intervention programme according to the judicial circumstances without interfering with the course of justice.

This is not a soft option. It is an intelligent approach to reduce reoffending using proven desistance factors to prevent further criminal behaviour. Reoffending rates have reduced by 19% (Source: Metropolitan Police Service).

DIVERT Custody Intervention Coaches explain the numerous paths that the young adults can be referred to and follow this with a long-term development plan to guide them in fulfilling their own goals, relating to education, training and employment.

How does DIVERT Work?

OUitC’s DIVERT Custody Intervention Coach Joshua Wilson is NOT a police officer. Working from Abingdon’s custody suite, he engages with young people from the locality. All conversations are completely confidential.

He will never discuss the circumstances of the young adult’s arrest and any matters relating to the current investigation. He is fully trained, security vetted and independent. DIVERT is a non-judgemental programme and Josh is always ready to listen.

DIVERT is totally voluntary for our young adults and independent of the current police investigation and any subsequent criminal charges.

What are DIVERT’s standout points of difference?

DIVERT is the only intervention programme of this type taking place in police custody suites in England and Wales.

DIVERT utilises the time spent in police custody as a ‘teachable moment’. A significant cognitive experience to prompt subsequent behaviour change. Young adults in police custody are often at their lowest point. DIVERT offers hope and an opportunity to make positive change.

DIVERT will always remain as an open offer and an opportunity to make positive change. A number of young adults have reconnected with DIVERT after release from prison, stating that the conversation in police custody had been impactful and stayed with them whilst serving their prison sentence.

DIVERT has a restorative approach and is respectful to the victims of crime and their needs.

OUitC and the wider Thames Valley DIVERT partnership are interested in hearing from local organisations, groups and businesses who can help offer pathway options in education, training and employment.

For more information about DIVERT and to discuss being part of the wider programme, please contact Joshua Wilson, Custody Intervention Coach via [email protected]


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