Young people who commit crimes to fund a drug habit will be
targeted in a Home Office initiative that aims to tackle offending
and drug problems at an early age, writes Kendra
Ministers say extending arrest referral schemes to young
offenders will cut the number who go on to commit crimes to fund
their drug habits.
Currently staff from arrest referral schemes identify drug-using
offenders as soon as they are taken into custody and give advice on
how to get treatment .
The schemes, available nationally to drug-using offenders over
the age of 18, are to be extended to under-18s in 10 pilot
Caroline Flint, Home Office drugs minister, said early
intervention was vital to prevent young people entering a cycle of
crime and drug addiction.
“Young people with drug problems need services which are
tailored to suit their needs, and to look at all the issues which
may have contributed to their drug use,” she said.
Ms Flint said the pilot schemes will explore what kind of help
they need. Young people taking part will be referred to a range of
services ranging from prevention to treatment programmes depending
on their needs.
Pilot schemes begin from December in Camden, Newham, Southwark,
Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Bradford, Calderdale, Hull
Arrest referrals for young people are part of a wider package of
measures that aim to get offenders of all ages off drugs and away
from a life of crime.