PCCs welcome national plan to cut drugs supply and demand, and invest in rehabilitation
The APCC’s Addictions and Substance Misuse portfolio has welcomed the Government’s new three-pronged strategy to tackling drugs in communities across England and Wales.
Joint portfolio leads Durham PCC Joy Allen and Dorset PCC David Sidwick said: “Police and Crime Commissioners recognise the public’s high levels of concern about drugs in our communities. We welcome this comprehensive, long-term strategy to tackle a problem that drives so much crime and anti-social behaviour.
Problem drug users often turn to crime to feed their dependence. Open drugs markets and the sight of drugs paraphrenia strewn about our parks and alleyways lead to people feeling less safe where they live. Many murders and acquisitive crimes are drugs-related and so we are pleased to see the Government giving these issues the attention the public expects.
“Policing has long been committed to pursuing offenders and disrupting supply chains, and our forces have been successfully going after county lines whose leaders are all too happy to take advantage of vulnerable people for profit.
“But we need to continue our work to drive down demand too. That includes effective drug education in our schools and explaining to recreational users that their weekend high is not just harmless fun. They may be fuelling a business model built upon exploitation, trafficking and serious violence.
“For too long we have been stuck in a fruitless debate about whether drugs is a criminal justice or a health issue, when clearly it is both. Indeed we need to bring all partners together and consider the role of education, housing, and employment services. As PCCs we can lead that work by continuing to invest in prevention and diversion schemes – as highlighted in our recent In Focus report - and as chairs of Local Criminal Justice Boards. Where funding has already been put into Project Adder pilots, for example, we have demonstrated the effectiveness of bringing enforcement, treatment, and recovery together.
“PCCs have fully supported and contributed to Dame Carol Black’s review and we are delighted to see the Government committing to world class treatment and recovery services. We must give offenders a chance to get their lives back on track. It is the right thing to do for them; but also because it benefits communities. Helping prison leavers to access community treatment and recovery services, and into stable housing and legitimate employment, cuts the cycle of crime.
“PCCs stand ready to play our part in delivering on this strategy. Because restricting supply, reducing demand, and promoting recovery to break the cycle of reoffending is what our communities want.”