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Mental Health Practitioner in Police Custody (Band 6)

Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
£33,706 to £40,588 a year per annum, pro rata
Closing date
20 Mar 2023

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Prison and Forensic
Band 6
Contract Type
Full Time
Somerset Foundation Trust's Advice and Support in custody and court (ASCC) team provides a service to individuals appearing at Somerset's criminal courts (Taunton, Yeovil and North Somerset Magistrates' courts, Taunton Crown Court) and to those who have been arrested and are detainees in police custody (Bridgwater).

The team is part of NHS England's national liaison and diversion programme (and in partnership with Avon and Wiltshire Partnership, provides the Advice & Support in Custody & Courts service to the wider Avon and Somerset police area). The team's primary role is to complete mental health and other vulnerability assessments in criminal justice settings and identify unmet needs with a view to referring on to a range of relevant health and social care services.

The team routinely share relevant information with criminal justice agencies (where consent has been obtained) to ensure that wherever individuals are in the criminal justice system, their mental health needs and information about other vulnerabilities are known, enabling the police and courts to make informed decisions about charging and sentencing.

The service operates 7 days a week between the hours of 8.00am to 8.00pm. Working hours have some flexibility, although staff work predominantly 'long days' (8.00am-8.00pm) shifts to cover these hours.

Main duties of the job

Practitioners are based in the police custody suites and courts of Somerset, working with people of all ages within the criminal justice system where potential mental health, learning disability and other vulnerabilities are identified.

You will be responsible for undertaking initial assessments within police custody and the court system and provide a rapid, high quality, written screening report.

You will offer professional guidance, advice and an educative role to colleagues working within the criminal justice system, and liaison with community services. The service acts as a first point of contact providing mental health advice for people held in police custody or appearing in court, assessment, liaison and facilitating access to appropriate mental health/social care services.

We support local police, courts and associated criminal justice agencies to ensure timely, accurate, relevant information is available to criminal justice professionals taking into account holistic assessment and provides guidance and liaison.

These referral pathways include: adult/children's social and mental healthcare, female support agencies, peer support, Support time and recovery work, housing and veteran services.

The team places great emphasis on in team learning as well as collaboration with wider local agencies to enhance cross profession knowledge sharing.

As part of a team of qualified workers, you will be part of a rota mainly covering Bridgwater police custody and courts.

About us

Somerset NHS Foundation Trust endeavours to provide development opportunities for those looking to develop a career in the NHS, in both clinical and non-clinical roles.

We have six active and impactful colleague networks. These networks provide a safe space for colleagues to share their experiences and learn from one another, but also influence change across our trust:
  • Multicultural Network
  • Women's Network
  • Armed Forces' Network
  • LGBTQ+ Network
  • Lived Experience Network, for colleagues living with disabilities
  • Autistic Colleague Network

As an organisationthe NHS offers a wide range of benefits including flexible working, pension contributions, market leading annual leave allowance, career progression and regular conversations, not to mention our Blue Light Card and NHS Discounts.

Somersetis a rural community served by several Community Hospital sites in addition to Musgrove Park Hospital which is only a short walk from the centre of Taunton. Local to two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, less than 1hr from celebrated secluded beaches of Devon and Dorset. With award-winning schools & rolling countryside it's no surprise that Somerset is the choice for those in search of the perfect work-life balance.

Job description Job responsibilities

To be based in police custody suites and magistrates courts in order to provide holistic, psycho-social assessments of mental health and other vulnerabilities for those coming into contact with the criminal justice system.

Following assessment, to identify robust care pathways for individuals where a potential mental health, learning disability or other significanthealth or social care need has been identified.

Please see Job Description for further information.

Please note this advert may close early if the required number of applications are received before closing date.

Person Specification Skills and abilities Essential
  • Compassionate with the ability to communicate effectively with patients, carers and relatives about complex and sensitive issues remaining sensitive and empathetic.
  • Ability to work under pressure and on own initiative.
  • Treat Service Users with respect and dignity, being culturally sensitive as appropriate, and consider the needs of the whole person.
  • Able to work collaboratively with partnerships and other agencies.
  • Ability to compile and present written and verbal reports.
Personal qualities Essential
  • Compassionate - Open minded, treats colleagues, patients, carers and relatives with dignity and respect.
  • Ability to work proactively as part of a team.
  • Ability to make decisions under pressure.
  • Ability to motivate others to, and to embrace, change.
  • Experienced and confident in positively managing risk Self reliant and resilient able to respond positively to challenging situations.
  • Understand the importance of professional development and reflective practice supported by supervision and training.
Communication skills Essential
  • Evidence of a good standard of Literacy / English language skills
Planning and organising skills Essential
  • Ability to manage pressured work load.
  • Ability to manage challenging and emotionally demanding situations.
Physical skills Essential
  • Required to use appropriate level of Personal Safety techniques to deal with challenging clients or incidents as per mandatory training.
Qualifications and training Essential
  • A professional qualification relevant to mental health practice. Either RMN/Degree/Diploma in Nursing, CQSW/Degree/Diploma in Social Work, Degree in Occupational Therapy,
  • Current relevant professional registration.
Knowledge and experience Essential
  • Significant experience and knowledge (minimum of 2 years post qualification) of working with people with mental health problems.
  • A good understanding of holistic assessment, recovery principles (including health and social care assessments) and the role of secondary mental health services in the delivery of care.
  • Significant experience of assessing risk and developing risk management plans.
  • Experience of undertaking autonomous assessments.
  • Evidence of continuing professional development relevant to the clinical area.
  • Experience of providing supervision.
  • Experience of working in a community mental health setting.
  • Experience of working within a Forensic/Criminal Justice environment.
  • Good knowledge of resources and working practices across Health and Social Care, including substance misuse, learning disability, children's services and housing.

Any attachments will be accessible after you click to apply.


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