The Plan B Custody Navigators programme is an initiative funded by the VRU and delivered by City Hearts in police custody suites across the county.

The Navigators aim to engage people aged 16 and over to help them make the right choices and to step away from crime. They engage and listen to those detained in custody and seek to understand how they have become involved in crime. They provide help and support aimed to steer them away from criminality and support them on a journey away from the one they are on now.

One of the clients helped by Plan B is MM, who was arrested for affray in May 2021, met with a Navigator in custody, and completed an initial assessment upon release. The support needs identified were housing, alcohol use, mental health, and liaison with social services.

MM had a stable job with a local authority, so it was essential to ensure this job was maintained. He was referred to meetings for his alcohol use and for mental health support. He was also supported in registering for council housing and was assisted in searching for private rented properties.

Due to breach of bail conditions, MM was remanded to prison in September 2021, and released eight weeks later. During his stay in prison, his Plan B Navigator maintained contact via the Departure Lounge. Whilst in prison, MM stayed sober and reached out for further mental health support.

The local authority kept MM’s position open so that he could continue in his employment once released. Once MM was back in the community, his Navigator liaised with social services to ensure he was properly advocated for. After a thorough assessment, social services found no risks relating to MM.

His Navigator submitted a Vicar’s Relief Fund application to obtain funding for MM’s housing. He received a deposit and first month of rent for a private property. This meant he was able to secure a house, and moved in before Christmas 2021.

MM has now graduated from the Plan B service. He is working full-time, renting a three-bed house, and has regular contact with his children. He is also sober and in contact with his GP for continued mental health support.