A new custody navigator initiative has been launched this week in South Yorkshire.

Plan B custody navigators are based at Shepcote Lane Police Station in Sheffield.   Navigators will be working in the custody suite supporting detainees who have been arrested. The work aims to reduce violence across South Yorkshire by breaking offending cycles.

The navigators are engaging young adults who are involved in crimes that are linked to violence.  They will support people ready to make positive changes in their lives, using their detention as a reachable and teachable moment.

Joint Head of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, Temporary Superintendent Lee Berry said: “We are really excited to have the opportunity to get the Plan B Custody Navigators started here at Shepcote Lane Police Station.

“The custody navigators will support and listen to those arrested and detained in custody.  They will look to understand how they have become involved in criminality and provide help and support.  This support will continue once they leave custody to help steer them away from criminality.

“Plan B is not an alternative to the criminal justice system and proceedings will continue accordingly. The scheme is a life choice for the individual who is trapped in crime.”

The custody navigators are easily recognisable and distinct to other employees.  They are identified by their purple polo shirts with the word ‘NAVIGATOR’ embossed across the back of the shirt.  The Plan B logo is also shown on the front.

The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, based on the first floor of Shepcote Lane, funds the Plan B Custody Navigator scheme.  The Violence Reduction Unit has been set up by the £1.6 million provided by the Home Office to Dr Alan Billings, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner in August 2019.

The Plan B intervention is provided in partnership with City Hearts, which has fifteen years of experience providing trauma-informed support to vulnerable people.

Stuart Otten, City Hearts About Face Project Manager said: “After a number of years of supporting individuals involved in the criminal justice system, we look forward to working in partnership with the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, to offer long-term support, signposting and practical guidance to individuals from the point of arrest.

“The aim is to help them plan their personal goals and aspirations, whilst also with the input of trained counsellors explore what has happened in their past, and to find whether this has contributed to the situation they are currently in.”

The Plan B custody navigators are a tertiary prevention intervention – an initiative to pull people already entrenched in violence out of criminal activity.