Plan B Custody Navigators will be supporting detainees, arrested for violent crimes in Doncaster Police Station Custody Suite with effect from Thursday, 17 September.

The custody navigators will support detainees who have been arrested on suspicion of violent offences.  The navigators will engage with those wanting to change their lives, using their time in custody as a teachable moment to help them make decisions to accept the help and make positive changes.

The aim of the custody navigators is to help reduce violence across South Yorkshire by breaking offending cycles.  All young adults who are involved in crimes that are linked to violence brought in to custody can access the scheme.

Joint Head of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, Temporary Superintendent Lee Berry said: “We have seen some excellent examples of people accepting help from the Plan B Custody Navigators based at Shepcote Lane.  They have worked with detainees brought in to custody from across Sheffield and Rotherham since January 2020 and have already supported individuals in to employment and away from a life of violence.

“This a big opportunity for young people in Doncaster to access tailored support when they are brought in to custody. Navigators will provide assistance with their housing arrangements, accessing financial help, provide transport to support groups or just listen when they want to talk about their situation.”

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 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: “Having a specific moment in time when an individual is in custody gives us the opportunity to connect with them at a significant point where they are able to contemplate their life choices that have contributed to their current circumstance.

“Explaining that Plan B operates outside of the criminal justices process is vital in building trust and rapport which in turn, aids the support journey once the individual is released into the community.”

The Plan B custody navigators are a tertiary prevention intervention – an initiative to pull people already entrenched in violence out of criminal activity. The scheme is not an alternative to the criminal justice system, but it is a way out from violent crime if an individual chooses to accept help.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “We are determined to reduce violence in South Yorkshire.

“We know from experience elsewhere that when people are sitting in a cell, this can be a moment when they are forced to think about their lives and the direction in which they are going. This is the ‘reachable moment’ when a navigator can show them that there is a better way and they can be helped to get there.

“Navigators have already helped many in Sheffield to make this life-changing decision and I am very pleased that we can extend the scheme now to Doncaster.

“It is in everybody’s interest to stop people being exposed to violence or to draw them from it if they are involved, and this is what the Violence Reduction Unit does.”