WILTSHIRE is to have a share of £25m for mentally-ill people who find themselves in trouble with the law.

The cash, announced by the Government this week, is to provide mental health nurses and professionals to work at police stations and courts - ensuring people with mental health and substance misuse problems get the right treatment as quickly as possible.

An official report in 2009 found that the majority of people who end up in prison have a mental health problem, a substance misuse problem or a learning disability and one in four has a severe mental health illness, such as depression or psychosis.

Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, said: “Too often people with mental health illnesses who come into contact with the criminal justice system are only diagnosed when they reach prison.

“We want to help them get the right support and treatment as early as possible. Diverting the individual away from offending and helping to reduce the risk of more victims suffering due to further offences benefits everyone.”

Wiltshire will be one of ten areas across the country testing out a new model of Liaison and Diversion services with the new money, to ensure quality of services is consistent.

These services will be evaluated and if successful, extended to the rest of the country by 2017. Policing Minister Damian Green said: “Police officers should be focused on fighting crimes and people with mental health conditions should get the care they need as early as possible.”