Divert is run by the Milestone Foundation in collaboration with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). The initiative focuses on engaging young people at the point of police detention, helping them overcome challenges and offering them the support and guidance they need to find sustainable employment.
The Divert programme provides mentoring services, including trained one-to-one support, maintaining liaison with the MPS, and advising the courts of the changes made by the individual and their positive contribution to society.
Through the Divert programme, Police Support Volunteers meet with people aged 18 to 25 who are in police custody to discuss education, training or employment opportunities that might be suitable for the detainee when they leave custody. Divert volunteers and staff helped find employment for more than 50 out of 220 people they saw in custody. The project has also helped reduce re-offending rates by over 20% among those seen by the team.
PSVs are citizen volunteers who give their time freely to perform tasks which complement the duties performed by police officers and staff. This helps free up officers and staff to perform key operational duties.
The Milestone Foundation state that “the aim of the project is get offenders to change their behaviour, to reduce the likelihood of them returning to police custody”.
The Met police scheme is backed by the Football Association, the governing body of association football in England. Community football coaches, who work for the clubs’ charitable foundations such as, Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, Palace for Life Foundation and Millwall Community Trust seek to intervene with young people at a “teachable moment” following their arrest, in a hope to redirect them into jobs or training.
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