Sheffield DAAT works with several local partners to tackle problems associated with drug related crime, here are some of the key things we aim to achieve through a co-ordinated approach:
South Yorkshire Probation Service has several staff in the court team commissioned by the DAAT. The court team work on our behalf to promote the correct use of sentencing options for people with drug or alcohol related offending patterns. There are a myriad of options available to magistrates and judges when deciding what punishment would be most suitable, and probation staff work closely with legal advisors to ensure the best options are made available to the sentencer. These options include:
Restriction on Bail: With a Restriction on Bail (RoB) offenders are required to meet with a drugs key worker whilst awaiting their next court appearance. Not all offenders are eligible for a RoB, but the DAAT works with probation staff and the Drugs Intervention Programme to ensure that at least 80% of the cases that could get RoB applied do so. RoB has been an option since it's introduction under the Criminal Justice Act (2003) and was piloted in three areas until 2005. The pilot proved the worth of RoB and paved the way for it's national introduction - you can read the home office pilot evaluation online (opens in new window). Failure to comply with the restriction may result in a breach of bail conditions, leading to arrest and possible incarceration until sentencing. Progress made during the bail period will inform the pre-sentence report from the probation service and have a bearing upon final sentencing.
Drug Rehabilitation Requirement (DRR): The DRR is an evolved version of the Drug Treatment and Testing Order (DTTO) that brings the DTTO in line with requirements of the Criminal Justice Act (2003). During sentencing a DRR may be placed on either a community order or a license condition (that applies once an individual is released from prison 'on license'). The nuts and bolts of the concept remain the same - an individual must attend regular sessions with drugs key workers and also be tested for the presence of drugs. Failure to engage will result in a warning, more than one in any 12 months will result in a breach of license or community order - this will mean a warrant may be issued for their arrest and they will be re-sentenced or immediately remanded. The DAAT works with the probation service and treatment providers to ensure that not only do the right people get given a DRR but the right service is delivered
Alcohol Treatment Requirement (ATR): ATRs are broadly similar to DRRs but for people with alcohol related offending. The DAAT works with service providers and the probation service to ensure that those individuals who would benefit from an ATR receive one, and that the treatment provided is of a high quality and immediately available.
Magistrates and judges can also place other non-legislated requirements on offenders such as 'seeking help with their substance abuse', and there is a wide range of treatment options that people may access in order to help them break the cycle of substance misuse and offending behaviour.
Conditional Cautions: For offences that are deemed too minor to prosecute through the courts the police may issue a conditional caution. The offender is required to admit the offence and then engage with drug or alcohol key workers to avoid further action being taken.
Fixed Penalty Notice Waiver (FPNW): People found to be casuing distrubances in the city centre through excessive drinking can be issued a Fixed Penalty Notice, essentially an on-the-spot fine. If people do not want to pay the fine they can get a FPN waiver by attending two group sessions to be informed about the problems of excessive drinking. In this way we hope to both reduce the health problems associated with Sheffields drinking culture but also reduce the impact alcohol has on police resources.
Addressing Substance Related Offending (ASRO): ASRO is a programme that aims to help people stop offending by addressing their drug use issues and supporting with other factors that might be leading them to misuse substances in the first place. The DAAT does not directly commission this service but we monitor numbers passing through and completion rate to ensure we have a complete understanding of the work being done locally.
One group of particularly at risk individuals that commit offences and have a high rate of drug addiction are prostitutes. Rather than focussing on punishment the DAAT works with both the Police and the Sheffield Working Womens Opportunities Project (SWWOP) to ensure that services are specifically tailored to deal with their needs.
As well as working to improve outcomes for offenders by having better services that are easily accessible we also strivve to improve the efficiency of the court system by making sure the right sentence is given to the right person. This reduces the likelihood that an offender will be unable to comply with any requirement and lowers the cost attached to breach action and repeated re-sentencing.