DIVERT is a police custody programme designed to divert 18-25 years olds away from offending and into employment, development and education. And Reading Football Club’s Community Trust is playing an active part in delivering DIVERT across the Thames Valley.
Working within police custody suites, Custody Intervention Coaches (CIC) speak with young adults whilst in custody with the ultimate aim of changing their direction so that they don’t reoffend. Their work is proving crucial to reducing the chances of that young person becoming a victim or perpetrators of further violence and helping them take responsibility and make better choices to change their life.
DIVERT started in the Thames Valley towards the end of 2019 with the appointment of our Community Trust’s very own Lyden Roberts as the Thames Valley Police’s designated CIC.
Lyden was assigned to the project on a full-time basis and spent several months shadowing the programme’s activities at Brixton Police Station in London, working alongside an experienced CIC and seeing DIVERT delivered first-hand whilst he awaited his NPPV level 2 security clearance.
He completed his training in February 2020 and started work at the Loddon Valley police station before introducing DIVERT into the Maidenhead custody suite on in August.
That meant meeting with the Safer Neighborhood Team and the Safeguarding Team as well as DS Helen Bentley from the Violence Reduction Unit and Louise Warbrick, Problem Solving & Safeguarding Inspector, to explain how DIVERT works and what the aims and objectives of DIVERT are.
Over the course of the last three months, Lyden conducted 25 IAG (Information Advice & Guidance) consultations with young adults and positive results have already become evident.
One young adult has enrolled onto a horticulture course at BCA College, another has started a full-time job in the construction industry.
One has been supported in updating his CV and applying online for job opportunities and has now secured a full-time job in a packaging distribution warehouse. Three others have been referred to ‘Turning Point’ for drug and alcohol support.
The employment climate is not an easy one for any young person at the moment, but Lyden continued to help others explore various employment or training routes, while Lyden himself has completed his NICHE training and assessments and now has his shoulder number and Thames Valley Police ID, allowing him to freely access both Loddon Valley and Maidenhead custody suites.
The DIVERT programme itself has recently been featured in The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners report for Violence Reduction Units and won Community Project of the Year at the London Football Awards 2019-20.
The Club and its Trust are very proud of the important role Lyden is playing within the local police force and we hope he continues to give back to the community in his support for offenders who are keen to follow a better path.