Police officers from the Baltic States participate in training ,,Are we tackling drug use and criminality effectively? Improving skills and exchanging experiences on working with drug users under arrest in European countries"

(posted 17/06/2008)

Three police officers from the Baltic States took part in a training session of the TOPIC II project ,,Are we tackling drug use and criminality effectively? Improving skills and exchanging experiences on working with drug users under arrest in European countries" which took place from the 1st till 7th of June in Bankya, Bulgaria. The project, of a duration of 24 months, is part of a broader approach focussing on the reduction of urban crime linked to drug use through the early provision of social and health services to drug users under detention, in order to direct them towards a treatment program. The project promotes co-operation between law enforcement/judicial authorities and health and non governmental organisations and promotes the exchange of information and practices between different countries, in order to tackle the connections between drug use and crime.

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The training session in Bankya was attended by more than 30 participants from the police and criminal justice organisations representing Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, UK, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine and the Czech Republic. The participants were acquainted  with the Italian model, where an active cooperation has been established between law enforcement bodies, the judiciary and social and health services in the Tribunal of Milan and in Padova, Roma, Catania, Genova and Reggio Calabria. It aims to address the social and health needs of drug users in detention, facilitating contacts between the drug user and the justice system on the one hand and treatment and health services on the other. The UK experts presented the UK experience of arrest referral. The arrest referral is an intervention aimed at people who have been arrested and whose offences are linked with drug use. It operates within the police custody suits and the court system and offers face to face contact with a drug worker, assessment, advice and information as well as onward referral.

UNODC will continue collaboration with the TOPIC II project to identify ways of cooperation between law enforcement/the judiciary and the health and social authorities to develop pilot initiatives in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.  Tackling the issue of crime reduction by working on social and health interventions for drug users should be more efficient and result in crime prevention rather than detention.

(from left to right):  Ainvar Rahe  -  Superintendent, Estonian Police Board, Estonia; Rūta Janulevičienė - National Project Officer, UNODC Project Office for the Baltic States, Lithuania; Kristīne Zakarauskaite - Senior Inspector of Drug Enforcement Bureau, Latvian State Police, Latvia

 

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