England

Arrested will be tested for drugs in Durham

People arrested for certain offences in County Durham are being tested for drugs by police.

Durham Police had been running the pilot scheme in Peterlee and Bishop Auckland but have now rolled it out across their entire area.

Anyone found to have cocaine or heroin in their system will be required to meet treatment staff.

Chief Constable Mike Barton said catching those with drug issues earlier could see them helped away from crime.

Mr Barton said: "We have around 1,750 individuals currently in treatment for heroin and cocaine abuse.

"We can do so much more if we identify addicts at the point we first come into contact with them.

'Trigger' offences

"It has long been recognised that drug users commit crime to feed their habits.

"The Drug Test on Arrest programme should bring about swifter access to treatment, will significantly reduce offending and help keep our communities safer."

Testing is carried out when people are arrested for certain "trigger" offences, such as dishonesty crimes including shop thefts, burglaries and robberies.

The treatment and recovery services for the scheme are provided by two specialist agencies, Addaction and the North East Council on Addictions.

Durham Police have carried out 122 drugs tests since the start of September with 42 people testing positive for Class A drugs and a further 46 being found to have other illegal substances in their systems.

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