Forensic community services encompass a number of different teams who provide specialist mental health support for service users leaving secure care and have been discharged from secure care via our SCFT Team.  Through our Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion Teams we also provide assessment for people who are experiencing mental health issues or other vulnerabilities and have come into contact with the Criminal Justice system. 

They support the transition of care for service users moving out of secure settings. The teams engage with the service users and those involved with their care, before, during and after their move from inpatient services to the community. They continue to provide specialist mental health support on discharge, for as long the individual person needs it.

The teams include: 

  • Consultant forensic psychiatrists
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Forensic community psychiatric nurses
  • Forensic social workers
  • Occupational therapists
  • Peer support workers
  • Recovery workers
  • Vocational workers.

The forensic outreach service and specialist community forensic teams work with service users to equip them for and support them with  daily independent living. They work with housing providers and hostels, developing support plans which mitigate risk and support people with effective ongoing therapy - both group and individual – as they move to and live in a community setting. 

The service works supportively with carers, taking their needs into account. We  work with other partners to ensure an integrated and supportive transition for people leaving a secure setting.

Agencies and departments we work with include:

  • The criminal justice system
  • Other mental health services
  • Social care
  • The voluntary sector.

As part of the work to assess a person and their transition into a community setting - and ensuring they adapt, we:

  • Assess and provide evidence as to whether there is any substance misuse
  • Provide vocational educational and employment support
  • Develop a specialist forensic risk assessment.

The forensic outreach service and specialist community forensic teams ensure that service users approaching discharge have a named Care Co-ordinator Consultant Psychiatrist (RC) from the respective team. A representative from both teams attends all discharge meetings on every rehabilitation ward in West London Forensic Services.

The teams also review patients who originate from the eight boroughs across North West London, but who are currently in secure hospitals out of the area.

The Specialist Community Forensic Team (SCFT) safely manages the transition of high risk mentally disordered offenders from secure inpatient services into the community.  SCFT provides advice and acts as a consultation service to reduce the need for re-admission to inpatient services.

The service provides care co-ordination and supervision in the community to service users leaving secure care and who reside in one of 8 North West London Boroughs including: Brent; Ealing; Hammersmith & Fulham; Harrow; Hillingdon; Hounslow, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster.  The service is provided to service users who are eligible for secondary mental health services, who have an identifiable mental disorder and where there is a significant risk of physical harm to others related to the mental disorder. Significant risk means that the risk is real and relatively imminent and that it cannot be safely managed without the intervention of a specialist community forensic service. All accepted referrals will be based on a comprehensive risk assessment and consideration of how the potential risk identified can be managed safely in the community.

The service operates Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm service, and is multidisciplinary with staff from many professional backgrounds such as forensic psychiatrists, forensic and clinical psychologists, vocational workers, forensic CPNs, forensic social workers, and support workers. The approach is based on recovery with emphasis on reintegration back into education and employment and service user involvement.

In addition, the SCFT operates an Out of Hours on call service to respond to any crises relating to its SCFT outpatients in the community.

The model is flexible in its approach. The SCFT team starts working with inpatients at least six months prior to discharge to facilitate a discharge care pathway, however, the majority of the work is with service users already in the community who may require assertive and intensive work to maintain their progress in the community. SCFT works in collaboration with care managers from the eight local boroughs when sourcing placements, and liaises regularly with partner agencies ie probation, Multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA), Ministery of Justice (MoJ) etc. depending on service user needs.

The SCFT also undertakes forensic risk assessments for those patients causing concern within other community teams, whereby a forensic risk assessment plan is agreed by both the referring team and SCFT, and recommendations made to agree a plan to continue to manage risk.

In order to work more efficiently the SCFT will be formed of three hub teams. Each hub will work with service users based on the location of their home authorities. The hubs are defined as follows:

  • EHH (Ealing; H&F and Hounslow)
  • BHH (Brent, Harrow and Hillingdon)
  • KCW (Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster).

Each hub have their own:

  • consultant psychiatrists
  • forensic CPNs
  • forensic social supervisors
  • occupational therapist
  • psychologist
  • recovery support workers.
Clozapine Clinics and Physical Healthcare

The SCFT will operate two clozapine clinics across North West London. One clinic for those service users living in inner London boroughs, and one clinic at St. Bernard’s Hospital site for those living in outer London Boroughs covered by SCFT.

Contact Information:

Specialist Community Forensic Teams
South West House
St. Bernard’s Hospital
Uxbridge Road

Tel: 0208 354 8670/8503


Referral forms should be completed and returned to the email address above.  

SCFT information leaflet

The court diversion team at Westminster Magistrates' Court was the first service of its kind in the UK and was originally set up in 1989 at Horseferry Road Magistrates' Court as a Home Office pilot. It has been staffed and managed by West London NHS Trust ever since.

Defendants in custody are screened on a daily basis by the resident court liaison nurse. A psychiatrist is available twice a week to enable acutely mentally ill defendants to be diverted to hospital. 

We welcome visitors and are also to be happy to come and talk about the service to other teams.

This service has been expanded in partnership with CNWL and Together for Mental Wellbeing.

For further information, please contact the team on 020 3126 3225 or 020 3126 3226.

It has been recognised for some time that people with a mental health problem don’t always get the support they need when they’re brought into a police station.

A team of 6 mental health nurses covers police custody suites in Hammersmith, Chiswick, Acton and Hounslow. 

For further information or to discuss a referral, please contact team administration on 020 8483 2340.

Find out more about our liaison diversion service.

This service ensures that the specialist needs of children and young people in custody or youth justice setting are met promptly.  We also ensure that they have priority access to the systemwide specialist services they need.

Conducting mental health assessment and care planning for children and young people in these settings can be complicated.  Issues relating to consent, capacity and legislation must be considered, as well as a range of clinical, safety and safeguarding risks.

Improving mental health outcomes and reducing youth offending

Our youth justice liaison and diversion (YJLD) workers are based in Hammersmith and Fulham, Hounslow and Ealing youth offending services. A specialist youth justice worker supports the YJLD in Ealing.

An initial assessment is only one element of this national service. Improving mental health outcomes and reducing offending is another key element. The YJLD workers also work in police stations and courts to ensure the young person is supported through the youth justice system.

The service provides a specialist tertiary referral service for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) teams, youth offending team (YOT) link workers and neurodisability services for young people and other agencies.

We cover the boroughs of:

  • Ealing
  • Hammersmith and Fulham
  • Hounslow
  • Westminster
  • Kensington and Chelsea
  • Brent
  • Harrow
  • Hillingdon.

The teams are accessible to all agencies which may have contact with young people exhibiting high risk behaviours, including social services, YOTs, prisons, courts, solicitors, education, those commissioning health services. We work with the youth justice system about young people with possible mental health or neurodevelopmental difficulties, including learning disabilities and autism.

The services provide expert advice and consultation, specialist assessments and intervention work and offer support as children and young people make the transition into and out of secure services.

If you need more information about the service, please contact team administration on 0208 354 8002.