Criminal Justice Partners
Tackling Drug and Alcohol Related Crime
There are well researched and evidenced links between substance misuse and offending. For drugs this is often acquisitive crime carried out in order to obtain the resources in order to maintain an illicit drug habit. With alcohol it may be offences committed whilst under the influence, which can often involve violence.
Sheffield DACT works with several local partners to tackle problems associated with drug and alcohol related crime, here are some of the key things we aim to achieve through a co-ordinated approach:
Criminal justice interventions and treatment for those testing positive for heroin and / or crack / cocaine
Drug using offenders address their offending behaviour and social problems to engage them in structured treatment. Partnership working between South Yorkshire Police and START (the substance misuse service) means that everyone arrested and detained in custody will be profiled. Anyone who meets the profiling criteria will be tested for opiates and cocaine/crack. A positive drug test result is followed by two mandatory appointments with START, one in the custody suite with a follow up appointment in their premises. This is the first step to engaging drug using offenders with substance misuse services.
Restriction on Bail (RoB)
The next point of engagement with the offender is at court and the bench’s option to impose RoB as a bail condition. Offenders on RoB are required to meet on a weekly basis with a drugs key worker whilst awaiting their next court appearance. Only those offenders who tested positive on arrest are eligible for RoB and the DACT works with probation court staff, Magistrates, staff from the HM Courts and Tribunal Service and DIP Addaction to ensure that at least 80% of the cases that could get RoB applied do so. Failure to comply with the restriction may result in a breach of bail conditions, leading to arrest and possible incarceration until sentencing. Progress made during the bail period will inform the pre-sentence report from the South Yorkshire Probation Trust and have a bearing upon final sentencing.
Alcohol Conditional Bail
A similar system is in place for people whose offending is related to alcohol. However Alcohol Conditional Bail allows for the referral and booking of an alcohol assessment by our commissioned alcohol treatment provider during the period when the offender has been bailed by the police prior to their appearance in court.
South Yorkshire Probation Trust
DACT commissioned services work closely with Offender Managers from Probation to ensure specialist assessment is undertaken for both drugs and alcohol related offences and this contributes to pre-sentence reports. This will influence Magistrates and Judges with their sentencing options, allowing for court mandated access to drugs and alcohol treatment. Two examples are:
Drug Rehabilitation Requirement (DRR)
During sentencing a DRR may be placed on either a community order or a license condition (that applies once an individual is released from prison ‘on license’). An individual must attend regular sessions with a drugs key worker and also be tested for the presence of drugs. Failure to engage will result in a warning, more than one in any 12 months will result in a breach of license or community order – this will mean a warrant may be issued for their arrest and they will be re-sentenced or immediately remanded. The DACT works with Probation, DIP Addaction and treatment providers to ensure that those appropriate for a DRR are identified and supported through the court system. Those who receive an DRR as part of their probation order people are given a DRR but the right service is delivered
Alcohol Treatment Requirement (ATR)
ATRs are broadly similar to DRRs but for people with alcohol related offending. The DACT works with service providers and Probation to ensure that those individuals who would benefit from an ATR receive one, and that the treatment provided is of a high quality and immediately available.
Magistrates and Judges can also place other non-legislated requirements on offenders such as ‘seeking help with their substance abuse’, and there is a wide range of treatment options that people may access in order to help them break the cycle of substance misuse and offending behaviour.
Fixed Penalty Notice Waiver (FPNW)
People found by the police to be causing disturbances through excessive drinking, either being Drunk and Disorderly or committing a minor public order offence, can be issued a Fixed Penalty Notice, essentially an on-the-spot £90 fine. People may choose to have their fine waived by attending an alcohol awareness and assessment session where they will be informed about the problems of excessive drinking and its links to offending. In this way we hope to both reduce the health problems associated with Sheffield’s drinking culture but also reduce the impact alcohol has on police resources. A similar scheme is currently being piloted for people arrested for possession of cannabis.
Since July 2012 many of the DIP services have been co-located with IMPACT (Sheffield’s Integrated Offender Management team) which provides a multi-agency approach (Probation, Police and DIP) to those offenders committing high volume serious acquisitive crime.
Sheffield DACT would like to acknowledge the funding contribution for this work from the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.