New drug testing policy to get users away from crime

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A GROUNDBREAKING project aimed at getting drug users into recovery and away from crime is being rolled out across Durham.

After a successful pilot scheme in Peterlee and Bishop Auckland police stations, the Drug Test on Arrest policy has now been extended to cover all custody suites across the Durham force.

It means custody staff can take a mouth swab from those detained in custody for certain offences, which will test for the presence of cocaine and heroin.

A positive result will mean the person is then required to attend two separate appointments with drug treatment staff; if they decline the test, or fail to attend the appointments the courts will be informed.

Both Durham’s Chief Constable Mike Barton and Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg believe tackling the issue of substance misuse will help reduce crime.

Chief constable Barton said: “It has long been recognised that drug users commit crime to feed their habits. The Drug Test on Arrest programme should bring about swifter access to treatment, will significantly reduce offending and help keep our communities safer.”