Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Policing by consent - giving drugs offenders CREDENCE

Sitting in on a conversation with members of the public and a Police officer I was surprised to find the officer draw flak regarding the Staffordshire Police's attitude towards drugs as, some time back, members of the public were canvassed on their attitudes towards drugs and the response of many (like those who are stopped for speeding and traffic offences) was, "Why don't you get out there and deal with 'proper' crime?"

And so, in line with the government guidelines and building on the 2009 white paper: 'Tackling Drugs to Build a Better Britain' (have a read of this document for some insight) our force works to educate and inform rather than merely arrest and keep arresting. It does this in four focus areas:

It has four focus areas:

young people - helping young people resist drug misuse and achieve their full potential in society

communities - protecting communities from drug-related, anti-social and criminal behaviour

treatment - enabling those with drug problems to overcome them to live healthy, crime free lives

availability - diminishing the availability of drugs on our streets.

This is delivered in partnership with a number of bodies and groups and, step by step, this is proving to be an effective policy - but of course there are many who would rather criminalise than cure, and therein lies the rub (and the niggles)!

The Staffordshire Police's Drug Strategy has eight action areas summarised by the acronym CREDENCE - an acronym that covers the aims and responses regarding drugs:

Cautioning - a consistent approach to cautioning offenders.

Referral - enforcement alone cannot remove a person's addiction to drugs. Referring more offenders to treatment services at the earliest stages of their addiction helps break the cycle of misuse and criminal behaviour.

Education - this is not just about schools and the pupils who attend them. It's important that parents and other community members know the facts about drugs and drug misuse so they can make valued judgements about the issues involved. By improving the understanding of drug misuse and its consequences, we aim to suppress the demand for drugs.

Disruption and Enforcement - effective enforcement of drugs legislation, especially laws involving heroin seeking  to reduce the opportunities to distribute drugs by means of seizure, disruption and the dismantling of networks which in turn reduces the level of street dealing and drugs availability in communities.

News and media
a co-ordinated partnership approach to press and media coverage on drugs related issues providing accurate factual information on drugs positively promoting the work of Staffordshire Police and its partners.

Clubs and Pubs
To achieve a safe drug-free environment we aim to tackle the problem of 'recreational' drugs, by policing and supervising clubs and pubs.

Earnings and Assets
Those who deal are increasingly having their assets identified and confiscated - those who make money from drug trafficking (or money laundering) will have it, and their stuff, seized. This makes true the old adage that 'crime doesn't pay'.

So a plea - before you start pillorying our Police for their inactivity over drugs, take a few moments to think about the work they do and the desire to 'cure' rather than 'criminalise' (which is an expensive path to tread with the costs of courts, police time and the other bits of the machinery).

And a request for those who are of the praying persuasion:

Please pray for our police officers and the work that they do
headcount decreases whilst the workload increases
Their safety,
Their families,
Their role in our society
And remember that in this country we police by consent - not force!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Legalise, withdraw treatment, punish crime - laisser faire works.