Supporting people who are in contact with the justice system and ensuring effective access to health, housing and other support services is absolutely vital and requires a holistic multi-agency approach, as well as a focus on interventions that can facilitate those links. That is why we continue to invest around £134 million per year in community justice services, including community sentences, throughcare support and other interventions that enable access to services to address the underlying causes of offending.
The distress brief intervention initiative, which was successfully piloted in Lanarkshire, provides quick and compassionate support to people who are experiencing distress. How will the Scottish Government ensure that DBI services are integrated into communities and that Police Scotland and other public bodies are trained to direct people to distress brief intervention where it might be appropriate?
Police Scotland has been a key national partner in the development and implementation of the DBI programme. Front-line staff in Police Scotland, along with their counterparts in the Scottish Ambulance Service, accident and emergency, primary care and NHS 24, are provided with bespoke DBI training to enable them to assess whether a person presenting in distress is appropriate for an offer of referral to DBI support. DBI training continues to be rolled out to staff in those services.
DBI is now live in 24 of the 31 health and social care partnership areas and discussions are under way with the remaining areas with a view to their being DBI live by the end of March next year. In addition, the national pathway to DBI exists via NHS 24 and the national call-handling services that are operated by Police Scotland and the Scottish Ambulance Service.