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Cranstoun undertake such important work within West Midlands custody suites

A lifeline service backed by West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster continues to help thousands break the cycle of problematic drug and alcohol use.

Launched in January 2020, the Cranstoun Arrest Referral Service (CARS) offers dedicated advice, guidance and support to people whose offending is driven by drug and alcohol dependency.

Last year, Cranstoun’s Arrest Referral team provided 4,511 harm reduction and overdose management interventions to people in custody, while thousands continue to benefit from referrals to specialist treatment providers to help get their lives back on track.

The aim of the scheme is to prevent crime by providing people in police custody with an opportunity to break the cycle of drug and alcohol addiction, which is often an underlying cause of their offending. The team complete assessments and sweep cells, speaking to people in custody about any substance or alcohol issues they may have. As well as drug and alcohol specific harm reduction advice, tailored wrap-around support and referrals, naloxone is also dispensed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.

The Cranstoun team also work in partnership with probation and court colleagues to assess individuals who may be suitable for an alternative to prison, reducing the numbers of short-term custodial sentences and increasing referrals into treatment for people who need support. This court avoidance approach has saved in the region of £20 million to the taxpayer, while pressure has also been significantly eased across hospitals in the West Midlands.

Following a visit to see CARS in action inside Oldbury custody suite this week, PCC Simon Foster said: “The adverse consequences of drug and alcohol misuse are significant. We have to consider ways to prevent and reduce the harm and cost of drug and alcohol misuse to people and wider society. That has to include getting people into harm prevention and treatment programmes to reduce offending.

“The aim of the scheme is to prevent crime, by providing people in police custody with an opportunity to break the cycle of drug and alcohol addiction, which is often an underlying cause of their offending.

“The CARS programme is not only helping us break the cycle of crime and giving people their lives back, it is also helping save the taxpayer money. It is having a real impact – because it’s tackling crime and that means fewer victims of crime.”

The PCC added: “Our drugs policy has been leading the way nationally and I’m pleased that other forces have also commissioned this ground-breaking service, that is really making a positive difference.”

Darren Nicholas, Assistant Director for Criminal Justice at Cranstoun, said: “The Arrest Referral Service in the West Midlands has been crucial in supporting people coming into contact with the police into drug treatment so that they can get the help and support that they need.

“We’re able to work closely with police, treatment services from across the region and also other organisations to give people opportunities when they leave police custody options so that they are able to live healthier and safer lives.”

To find out more about CARS and how Cranstoun can help, visit the website here.

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