Wales

Checkpoint Cymru: 'Contracts' to cut reoffending rates

Arfon Jones
Image caption Arfon Jones: 'Many, many people commit the same offences over and over again'

People caught with small amounts of drugs could be offered the chance to attend a course rather than face a fine or prosecution in north Wales.

The idea is similar to awareness courses motorists caught speeding attend to avoid further action.

"Low level" offenders could also sign a contract agreeing to change their lifestyle rather than face prosecution.

The North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner has set up the projects in a bid to reduce reoffending rates.

Arfon Jones said, if successful, they would "reduce demand on the police, allowing us to concentrate on more serious crime".

He is recruiting 10 staff to manage referrals to Checkpoint Cymru which is due to be operational by the autumn.

By signing a four-month contract offenders could be given support to tackle drug and alcohol addiction and offered help to get into education or to find work.

The programme was developed by Cambridge University and pioneered at Durham Constabulary with reoffending rates down from 30% to 18%, according to Mr Jones.

The drugs awareness programme is being set up following a project led by Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

Image caption The Checkpoint Cymru programme will run from police stations at Llay, St Asaph and Caernarfon

Mr Jones said: "By addressing the underlying causes of their offending behaviour, those signing up to the programme are less likely to reoffend.

"If we can reduce reoffending by 20-30% it's going to make a vast difference to the individual, their families, community in general, and it is going to save public services a lot of money."

Insp Iwan Jones from North Wales Police said: "The thinking is to be able to give people a second chance at life, to help people get back into education, to help people get back into employment.

"We will be providing pathways for offenders to change their lifestyle that revolves around crime by understanding the reason behind the criminal behaviour."

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