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Police awarded for youth drugs help programme success

Olly Stephens

THAMES Valley Police has won an award for its Youth Drug Diversion Scheme aimed at younger people.

On Tuesday, October 20, it was announced the winner of the Policing and Children category at The Howard League for Penal Reform annual awards.

The charity organises an annual awards ceremony every year to recognise projects and organisations that encourage alternatives to prosecution for children and adults.

Chief Inspector Jason Kew, from Thames Valley Police said: “I want to recognise the expertise from a wide range of partners involved in the scheme’s evidenced design — this is fantastic recognition for all of them.

“But importantly, recognising the young people themselves, voluntarily engaging in a programme of drugs education; this award is for each of them.”

The Youth Drug Diversion Scheme aims to reduce the harm caused by drug use and drug-related offences amongst under-18s by offering alternatives to prosecution.

It also aims to reduce the risk of re-offending.

The scheme does so by giving young people, who are found in possession of small quantities of illegal drugs, the chance to take part in a diversion to address their drug use.

“We need to change the stigma towards drugs and create a safe environment to self-assess and learn the risks associated with drug use,” Mr Kew continued.

“Education is key to positive behaviour and a reduction in harm.”

More details about The Howard League for Penal Reform’s community awards can be found here: howardleague.org/community-awards

To find out more about the Youth Drug Diversion Scheme, visit: www.thamesvalley.police.uk

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