"reducing alcohol and drug related harm in our communities"


New PSNI Pilot Scheme with ASCERT to Tackle Drug Misuse

Local Police have launched a new scheme which aims to educate offenders about the harmful effects of drugs supported by ASCERT.

When issuing a Community Resolution Notice (CRN) the police will now have the option to require the first time offender, aged 18 and over, to attend an education session provided by ASCERT.

(L-R) Inspector Philip Robinson, Colin Robinson, ASCERT Training Manager, and Supt. Brian Kee

Inspector Philip Robinson, outlined the details of the initiative: “This is a 6 month pilot being run across Lisburn and Castlereagh Policing District and Ards and North Down Policing District with ASCERT, beginning in June this year (2019).

“The project looks to address drug misuse which continues to be a priority for the PSNI. Year on year (2016, 2017, 2018), we have seen an increase in the number of Community Resolution Notices (CRNs) issued for drugs offences in the two Policing districts, with over 400 issued to people aged 18 and over during 2016, 2017, 2018 for first time drug offences.

“While the CRN enforces the law regarding drugs and offers a useful method of resolution, this education course aims to address drug related issues supporting people in positive change.

“This is a 2 hour education and harm reduction session run by ASCERT in a neutral venue. This session will look at values and attitudes towards drugs, the Cycle of Change, and provide a safe space for effective discussion with an opportunity to reflect on their drug use, possible consequences, which should provide a wake-up call and also provide a gateway service for any further referrals required in relation to their drug use.”

Colin Robinson, ASCERT’s Training Manager hopes the programme will empower participants to take proactive measures to reduce the adverse impacts of drug use: “The team at ASCERT is really excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the PSNI on this innovative piece of work. It’s our experience that taking drugs has become a routine lifestyle choice for a lot of people.

“We hope that our programme can make them reflect upon the negative consequences of their behaviour and help to reduce the harm that they are doing to their families and communities, as well as themselves.”

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