Teens caught with drugs will avoid prosecution – even with cocaine and heroin

Teenagers who are caught with drugs will not face prosecution according to a new police scheme.

Under the first police scheme of its kind, even those caught with cocaine and heroin will be given a second chance.

This comes as bid to tackle serious violence and combat county lines gangs.

Thames Valley Police will instead be offering educational or treatment programmes to those found with small quantities of illegal drugs.

Under-18s will also be given another chance if they offend again, and will be offered a continuation of the programme, reports The Telegraph.

However, those who are caught with large amounts of drugs or refuse to participate in the programmes offered will be arrested.

The new scheme will be launched next week which is followed by a pilot.

Thames Valley Police conducted a pilot of the "drugs diversion" scheme which saw 42% of the 84 people caught with drugs complete an education programme rather than face prosecution.

In the pilot, the programme included an assessment and three one-hour sessions.

Two out of those who completed the programme are now drug free.

Chief Inspector Jason Kew, the officer leading the project said: “By offering young people an opportunity to learn about the dangers of drugs, as well as providing them with the support they need to make a positive change in their lives, this means they don’t have to end up with a criminal record."

He added: “As a consequence, we hope this will then contribute to a reduction in drug use and the drugs market.

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"Furthermore, this also frees up valuable time for frontline officers as the person stopped will not need to attend custody.

"Therefore, allowing officers more time to tackle serious and organised crime in our communities.”

Matthew Barber, deputy police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley, said: “Our violence reduction unit is seeking to make long-term reductions in drug use and serious violence.

“This drugs diversion scheme is designed to tackle the root causes of drug use among young people in order to prevent them reoffending.”

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