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  4. 1.36 Police diversion and drugs: Collaborative evaluation of the effects and cost-effectiveness of police-led diversion of people who use drugs

1.36 Police diversion and drugs: Collaborative evaluation of the effects and cost-effectiveness of police-led diversion of people who use drugs

Academic team: Alex Stevens (University of Kent), Dr Emma Williams (CPRL)
Policing partners: Thames Valley Police, Durham PCC, West Midlands PCC, NPCC
Status: In progress

Police officer on horse

Led by the University of Kent, a team of academic, policing, health and service user partners will evaluate PDD schemes that are already in operation in three policing areas: Durham, Thames Valley and West Midlands. Individuals on the scheme are assessed, then referred to education, treatment or support (as needed) with an ‘out of court disposal’, for example a warning, which does not create a criminal record.

The project will utilize data already collected by the police, NHS and drug treatment services to assess the impacts of diversion on crime, hospitalization numbers and engagement with drug treatment. The project team will compare the outcomes for people eligible for diversion in the three areas to the outcomes of similar people in matched areas which do not yet use PDD (Humberside, Hampshire and Greater Manchester). To learn how PDD schemes work in practice, the team will carry out process evaluations, using interviews and focus groups with the people who work with these schemes, including police officers, drug treatment providers, service users and their families to facilitate the work. The project team will also examine how equitable the effects of PDD are (e.g., by ethnicity and gender). It is the process evaluation in Thames Valley Police that CPRL will be leading on under the leadership of Emma Williams, Director of Research and Strategic Partnerships.

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