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PCC John Campion welcomes medical practitioner Professor Dame Carol Black to West Mercia to highlight a project that is working to divert drug offenders away from more serious offences.

DIVERT, a project that launched in West Mercia last year, offers early intervention to those found in possession of small amounts of drugs. Individuals can be referred to DIVERT more than once, recognising it can take more than one intervention to change behaviour.

The project aims to prevent lifelong implications that can result from criminal convictions, instead giving individuals the opportunity to make a difference and prevent re-offending, or getting involved in more serious crimes.

Following an independent review of drugs by Professor Dame Carol Black, she is visiting Hindlip, Worcestershire, to hear about the project and how it is tackling the harm that drugs cause.

DIVERT has been receiving an average of 43 referrals per month, with cannabis accounting for 75.3% of those assessed.

PCC John Campion said: “Early interventions can make such a difference to individuals, to communities and to potential victims of crime. By diverting drug users to support and health services, we can make a real culture change that ensures the best outcomes for everyone.

“It is an absolute honour to have Dame Carol Black visit us so we can share the approach we are taking in West Mercia. I hope she can see we share her vision and commitment to ensuring drugs aren’t causing harm in communities.”

Professor Dame Carol Black said: “I regard drug dependency as a chronic health condition and it has been shown that early intervention can help break the cycle of dependency.

“I look forward to hearing about the Divert Scheme as it could have an important benefit – not just for individuals but also for wider society.”