Chief Inspector Richard Blakemore (East Local Policing Area, Gwent Police), provided an overview of the alcohol diversion work they are doing in Gwent, South Wales.
The scheme was launched in June 2018 and will run until 2020. For those who come into custody under the influence, the scheme allows them the opportunity to attend a two hour training course which can result in not receiving a criminal record or attending court. The new scheme, similar to the speed awareness course for drivers, will see offenders given the option to pay £46.20 for a two-hour educational session, as opposed to a criminal record and a fine. Attendees will be taught about the long-term effects of alcohol and how to “avoid behaviour that is likely to get them on the wrong side of the law”.
Who will be eligible?
The course will be offered with discretion and is usually aimed at first time offenders or those who commit low level crimes whilst drunk. People who choose to attend the course will not show up on criminal checks, but will also not be offered the course again if they go on to reoffend.
As a diversion scheme, the course is aimed at cutting reoffending and breaking the cycle at the start, by focusing on the effects of excessive drinking not just on the individual, but on their family, friends and the local community. The objective is to reduce the number of people arrested for alcohol related offences and tackle the issue at the root.
It is a cost neutral scheme and sees collaborative working between those at Gwent Police and the TTC Group who will deliver the courses and work in partnership with colleagues at CAIS. CAIS is a charity that provides personal support services for those affected by drugs and alcohol. Richard notes that there are similar schemes running in Durham, Cumbria, Devon and Cornwall.
This case study was compiled and edited by Jaskirat Mann in 2018