The delivery of two pilot Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND) diversion schemes is set to change on September 1, 2012.
Alcohol and cannabis diversion schemes are available to people who have been issued with PNDs by Hampshire Constabulary officers for the following offences – being drunk and disorderly, possession of cannabis, or offences of criminal damage or public order where alcohol or substance misuse is a factor.
The schemes allow offenders to attend appropriate educational courses as an alternative to simply paying a financial penalty in order to help individuals understand the risks, harm and consequences caused by their behaviour and to reduce the likelihood of further offending.
The schemes are run by Druglink www.druglink.co.uk , a registered charity, which works with police forces and local agencies to make a significant and positive impact on the lives of those misusing drugs and alcohol, their families and the communities in which they live.
Participants on the schemes gain an understanding of the long-term effects that can result from misusing alcohol or drugs, and learn to identify risk situations in the future and to make better informed decisions that will reduce their risk of reoffending.
For the past year, the alcohol and cannabis pilot schemes have operated on an opt-in basis, with offenders actively choosing to attend the course. However, from September 1, an opt-out process will commence, with the aim of increasing the number of people attending the courses and ultimately reducing the likelihood of reoffending.
Updated leaflets are being delivered to Hampshire Constabulary officers and custody teams by the end of August in order for them to be distributed to offenders from September onwards.
The cost of attending an alcohol or cannabis diversion course is £40. After the course has been completed, the original £80 fine is cancelled. Second-time offenders cannot access the scheme and will face more serious consequences.
Inspector Stuart Rennie said: “The alcohol and cannabis diversion schemes are being relaunched to give as many offenders as possible the opportunity to participate in this educational programme, which will enable them to make better informed decisions and modify their behaviour in the future.”
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