Police in Brighton and Hove will test suspected drug users when they are taken into custody from today (Monday 2 April).
The “test on arrest” powers have been piloted in Hastings over the past year as a way of trying to steer drug users away from crime and into treatment.
Now offenders will be required to attend a local drug treatment service if they test positive for heroin or cocaine when they are booked in to the cells in Hollingbury.
Sussex Police opted to use increased powers under the Drug Intervention Programme (DIP) to target adults arrested for certain crimes linked to drug misuse.
Detective Inspector Mick Jones, from Brighton and Hove CID, said: “Intensive DIP involves identifying Class A drug misusing offenders as they go through the criminal justice system.
“It puts into action a range of interventions to deal with their behaviour, getting them out of crime and into treatment and other support.
“This begins at their first point of contact with the criminal justice system at arrest and continues through the journey that can include custody, court, sentence, treatment and beyond into resettlement.
“This is an innovative new approach for Brighton and Hove in breaking the cycle of drug-influenced offending.”
Mike Pattinson, CRI’s director of operations, said: “We know that one of the most successful ways of reducing drug-related crime is to get offenders into effective treatment.
“Test on arrest and the DIP team identify people at an earlier stage in their drug using career and get them into treatment quicker than they would otherwise do.
“CRI has a long history of working closely with Sussex Police to help make our community safer and helping drug-using offenders to change their behaviour and improve their own life chances.”
Detective Inspector Jones added: “The ethos behind this work is to tackle the drug addictions of those that commit crime within the city.
“It provides an opportunity for offenders to address their addictions with suitably qualified drug workers.
“This compliments the partnership working already in place under the banner of Operation Reduction which seeks to reduce the harm caused by the sale of Class A drugs within the city.”
To find out more about the programme click here.
Anyone with information about drug offences or who needs the help and support of police can call 101 – or 999 in an emergency.
To provide information anonymously, call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.