Submitted by Thames Valley Police
1. This memorandum is submitted by Thames
Valley police with specific reference to the effectiveness of
Drug Treatment and Testing Orders (DTTOs).
2. Thames Valley police is the largest non-metropolitan
police forceconsisting of the three counties of Berkshire,
Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. The force has some 6,000 staff
(3,750 officers, 1,800 civilian support staff and 500 specials)
and operates a highly devolved style of management, consisting
of 10 police areas, supported by a corporate headquarters. Each
area is coterminous with relevant local authority boundaries,
greatly assisting all aspects of partnership working as envisaged
by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and espoused in the force aim1.
3. One of the larger Thames Valley police
areas is Oxford and this area has had particular success in obtaining
DTTOsin close partnership with a number of other agenciesresulting
in greatly improved performance and crime reduction.
4. The police are often the first agency
to come into contact with an offender who has a drug problem.
In Oxford an independent study has estimated that there are between
1,800-2,300 problem heroin and crack users within the city.2 The
report also accepts that this is likely to be at the lower end
of the accurate figure.
5. Drug related crime is prevalent within
the Oxford police area and the area is fortunate to have the services
of an excellent intervention scheme SMART3 (Substance Misuse Arrest
Referral Scheme) who visit the custody suite on a daily basis
to identify and offer support to detained persons that have a
6. In terms of two of the biggest categories
of crime prevalent within the citynamely vehicle-related
crime and household burglarythe Oxford police area has
organised itself into two specific teams that focus upon these
offences and target those responsible for these crimes. Each of
these teams is led by a sergeant whose role in the success of
DTTOs has been crucial in terms of identifying when an offender
may be suitable for a DTTO and communicating that to the Probation
Service. These two sergeants are also solely authorised4 to discuss
with a detained person who indicates that they would wish to be
recommended for a DTTO whether they wish to admit previous offences
that they have not yet brought to the attention of the police.
7. Such admissions are now increasingly
seen by the courts as a necessary indication by a detained person
as to their willingness to undergo treatment for a drug habit.
These offences are recorded by the police as "taken into
consideration" and fully open to scrutiny.
8. To date, the Oxford police area has assisted
some 11 offenders onto a DTTO and all are now receiving rehabilitation
(community or residential) and others are in the process of being
assessed for a DTTO. At this time, only one offender recommended
as suitable has been rejected at Crown Court.
9. The Courts can sentence any offendercommitting
crime to fund a drug habitto a DTTO of between six months
and three years. There is a view that says that an identical sentence
of imprisonment will have an identical impact upon crime reduction
as a DTTO. This is somewhat missing the point as it is what occurs
after (or even during) each sentence that will have the biggest
overall impact upon crime reduction.
10. In late 2000 the newly formed Oxford
Auto Crime Team, whilst investigating the cost of funding to rehabilitate
prolific drug dependant vehicle crime offenders, pioneered the
option of a DTTO for specific offenders. This in turn forged links
with SMART, the newly restructured Thames Valley Probation Service
(TVPS) and most crucially many of the Oxford defence solicitors.
Indeed, it is the acceptance by local defence solicitors that
a DTTO can be in their clients best interest that has been of
most significance. With defence solicitors endorsing the DTTO
process, all those with an interest in obtaining a DTTO now speak
11. One of the first offenders to receive
a DTTO sentence was Wayne JONES. One of the most prolific offenders5
driven by drugs he was sentenced to a full three year order following
a successful initial month assessment. He has admitted some 518
previous offences and car crime in the city centre decreased following
his arrest by some 59 per cent. He also provided valuable information
about his offending habits and in particular on the major design
flaw in a particular type of Honda motor car that was fitted with
a CD player as standard. Working with the Vehicle Research Laboratory
at Thatcham and Honda UK the design was rectified in all new and
existing cars to design out the fault. Consequently these vehicles
are now no longer at risk and offences relating to them have dropped.
12. However, it is the fact that Wayne has
been able to successfully undergo residential drug rehabilitation
close to Oxford without re-offending that is the success. To date
the rehabilitation is still progressing well and his success has
not gone unnoticed within the criminal fraternity and demand for
DTTOs from offenders and their solicitors is now increasing. We
are facilitating the process in partnership with the TVPS and
an emerging blockage will be the availability of treatment places
13. With the 11 DTTOs that we now have in
place, our area performance in terms of crime has improved by
1,097 detectionsequivalent to ten per cent of our entire
detection rate for this current year. With this figure comes not
only improved police "statistical" performance but reduced
offending with those that successfully complete a DTTO.
14. The consequences of rehabilitation are
also far reaching in terms of our communities. Some of the offenders
on DTTO sentences are also community problems in terms of anti
social behaviour and the positive impact here is notable.
15. The success of the DTTO as experienced
at Oxford is, we believe, down to the effective partnerships (and
probably personalities) at practitioner level. Of crucial importance
has been the involvement of local solicitors and the courts service
at every step to ensure that each agency remains on board with
the process. No one disputes what the successful outcome is but
getting there is the success that we in particular have achieved
1 The aim of the Thames Valley Police is "working
in partnership with our communities to reduce crime, disorder
and fear as a leading caring and professional police service".
2 "Heroin, Crack and Crime. The Oxford
Perspective" Oxford Brookes University August 2000.
3 SMART is an intervention scheme serving the
Thames Valley area originally set up with Comic Relief funding.
4 There are ethical issues surrounding police
officers obtaining admissions if inducements are offered such
as particular sentences or offers of such. Local policy at Oxford
is that nominated supervisors are only allowed to discuss DTTOs
with offenders to ensure consistency of approach with legislation.
NB. All such conversations are audio taped as part of a standard
police interview procedure.
5 Wayne JONES (the pseudonym for a real offender)
became a heroin addict at age 14. He is an intelligent man and
his drug taking required him to steal two laptops (or equivalent)
a day to fund his habit. He had a straightforward routine that
was well thought out and targeted specific vehicles (Hondas and
foreign tourist vehicles). He committed crime predominately within
the city centre car parks where he would often "purchase"
information on which vehicles to attack from down and outs who
were begging in the area who sold information regarding what they
had seen being locked in which vehicle within the car park.