The Wokingham Paper

Thames Valley Police launch new youth drug programme

Picture: Wikipedia Commons

A NEW scheme has been launched by Thames Valley Police to tackle drug use in the area — and it’s targeting under 18s.

The Youth Drug Diversion Scheme is a new initiative which aims to reduce the harm caused by drug use and drug-related offences.

It is currently being rolled out across all Thames Valley Local Policing Areas following two successful pilot schemes in 2018 and in January of this year.

The programme offers young people who are found in possession of small quantities of illegal drugs to take part in a diversion to address their drug use — it is an alternative to facing prosecution.

And if a young person who engages with the scheme is found in possession of drugs for a second time, they can take part in the diversion again to explore why they reoffended and offer further support.

“This is a great step forward for our Drug Diversion Scheme,” chief inspector Jason Kew said.

“By offering young people an opportunity to learn about the dangers of drugs as well as providing them with the support they need to make a positive change, they don’t have to end up with a criminal record.

“As a consequence, we hope this will then contribute to a reduction in drug use and the drugs market.”

Thames Valley Police hopes that this service will stop many young people from repeat offending, reducing long-term demand upon police services.

“This drugs diversion scheme is designed to tackle the root causes of drug use among young people,” Matthew Barber, deputy police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley added.

“Residents across the Thames Valley often raise concerns about drug use in their communities.

“This new approach will enable the police to better respond to the concerns of the public and tackle this problem.”

The Youth Drug Diversion Scheme will be implemented across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

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