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[05 AUG 99] COVENTRY COMMMUNITY DRUG TEAM NEWS
Coventry Arrest Referral Scheme To Be Expanded

A joint initiative formed between the police and a Coventry drug help centre is to be extended after a successful start.

Coventry Community Drug Team, based in Dover Street, currently has a part-time worker stationed at the city’s Little Park Street police station and anyone arrested for a drug related offence is given the opportunity to speak to them.

It is now hoped that the scheme will be extended to cover Coventry’s other two police stations - Chase Avenue and Stoney Stanton - and manager of Coventry CDT, Paul Wells, believes it will prove very successful.

He said:

"There have been pilots of this scheme in Derby and Brighton and they have both proved hugely worthwhile.

"The idea is that people who are arrested for drugs related offences can confidentially speak to our representative in the station and get help from them.

"It also helps the police because there have been incidents in the past when they have had the same person arrested three times in a day for shop-lifting, which is just a waste of their time and resources.

"The problem previously has been that the police can catch drug users but cannot treat them, and we can treat them but cannot catch them."

However, Wells is keen to stress that although situated at the police station, their work does not overlap with police matters.

"Anything that is said to us is confidential, and we are not asked to report back to the police or give them information about individual cases.

"The only thing that is recorded is when the police inform the people of our scheme and ask them if they want us to be involved."

And the Coventry CDT manager is pleased with the way the police have accepted the scheme and seen the benefits of it.

He said:

"I think when our worker first went in, some officers were a bit sceptical of him but now they are very supportive and see the merit of helping these people and stopping repeat drugs related offences."
   

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CWN / Health / Coventry Community Drug Team / 5 Aug 99

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