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Alcohol Awareness Week: Tackling substance misuse in Newport City Centre

Published: Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Newport City Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team have joined forces with the Home Office funded, Drug Interventions Project (DIP) to tackle substance misuse in Newport City Centre.


A pilot initiative has been launched where Community Support Officers patrol with drugs outreach workers to offer support and assistance to those affected by substance misuse.


Using police information to identify areas where known substance misusers gather, the team target these locations, to engage with misusers and build relationships. This allows them to offer help and support on the street whilst also referring consenting individuals to support agencies, who can assist them in changing their lives in the medium to long term.


Since the inception of the pilot project in July 2012, the team have supported 49 people 'on the street' in Newport, with 27 of those now receiving on-going support and treatment. A drop-in clinic has also been set up working in conjunction with Newport Night Shelter.


Gwent Regional Manager for the Drug Intervention Programme, Lyn Webber, explains: "This has been an exciting and successful initiative where true partnership working has resulted in meaningful engagement with hard to reach people.


"We are the first region in Wales to undertake this initiative and possibly the first in the UK. The success of this has resulted in additional Welsh Government funding being secured, to extend to the project into Bettws and Pill until March 2013."


Neighbourhood Policing Inspector for Newport City Centre, Chris Watts added: "Crime and anti-social behaviour in Newport continue to fall but we are determined to reduce this even further. Our research has shown that substance misusers in the City Centre are committing crime, to fund their addiction, so in order to tackle this, it is important that we address these root causes.


"During this pilot, serious acquisitive crime in the City Centre has fallen by 32%. This is a positive achievement and something that we are committed to building upon."