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Diversion Schemes for Sex and Drug Offences

Question

Could you please provide full details of any diversion schemes* run by the force in connection with sex working offences and drug offences, respectively. The details should include:

1. The full name and description of the scheme (or link to details online)

2. When the scheme became operational

3. How many people have used/taken part/been diverted into the scheme each year for the last five years

4. What proportion of people offered the scheme have taken up the offer

*Diversion schemes can be defined as educational programmes which are offered to offenders by way of them avoiding or mitigating against criminalisation.

Answer

In relation to sex working offences, men caught soliciting a woman for the purpose of prostitution, receive a conditional caution. One of the conditions is to attend The Change Course. The course commenced in Avon and Somerset in April 2008. Since then, 488 individuals have attended the course. Please find a yearly breakdown below. 

Year

Change Course Attendees

2012

155

2013

97

2014

119

2015

59

2016

58

The number of individuals who were offered the course is not recorded, therefore we are not able to provide the proportion of offers that were accepted.

In relation to drug offences, we have a Drugs Education Programme which offers an alternative route for drug possession offences and deliver a ‘once only opportunity’ for offenders to receive an intervention aimed at deterring them from further drug use and further involvement in the criminal justice system. The programme began on 1st April 2016. Since then, (up to the end of November), it was offered to 285 individuals. A total of 227 individuals attended.

FOI reference: 1541/16.

Date of request: 25.12.16.