In 2003, the Home Office set up the Drug Interventions Programme (DIP) with an overarching aim to break the cycle of drug use and crime, and as a result reduce acquisitive crime in communities within England and Wales. The DIP process is an important early engagement opportunity as many of the clients who are assessed for DIP are some of the most difficult to reach problematic drug users. The programme is a multi-agency initiative incorporating the criminal justice system, Crown Prosecution Service, police, prison service, probation and treatment agencies, who work together to direct offenders who use drugs and/or alcohol towards treatment whilst in contact with the criminal justice system.
In October 2013, the Home Office decommissioned DIP as a national programme and Public Health England (PHE) took responsibility for collecting and reporting the Criminal Justice Data Set, previously reported to the Home Office. DIP as a programme continues to be implemented across four of the five Merseyside areas (Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral), though the processes remain in place at all stages of the criminal justice system in order to engage offenders into treatment within all five areas (DIP ceased to exist in Liverpool in April 2016).
There are some limitations as not all data sets can be reported on by PHE, for example police drug testing for Class A drugs following an arrest and Restrictions on Bail activity, but locally teams have more scope to tailor data collection to local needs, as long as it complies with the overarching Required Assessment (RA) and PHE criminal justice processes.
The Intelligence and Surveillance Team have two main roles in relation to the Criminal Justice Project:
The Criminal Justice Data Set is reported to PHE on a monthly basis, via the Criminal Justice Intervention Team (CJIT) Data Entry Tool (DET), which captures information on various elements of an offender who uses drugs and/or alcohol who has contact with treatment services in the community. PHI has access to the Criminal Justice Data Set submitted by all five Merseyside areas, which is downloaded and securely stored by PHI for monitoring and reporting purposes. We also enter monitoring forms onto CJITDET for two of these areas.
In addition to the Criminal Justice Data Set, PHI has access to Merseyside Police drug testing data collected for those tested for Class A drugs following an arrest, as per targeted testing guidelines. We also record Restrictions on Bail activity in Liverpool which is collected on a monitoring form at court.
Data monitoring and research:
We provide monitoring of criminal justice activity for the Local Authority areas of Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral. Reports are provided to the teams outlining performance at each stage of the process, allowing service providers and commissioners to examine their performance on a monthly basis and tackle any barriers that may exist. A unique element of this reporting is being able to report on drug testing data across Merseyside and link this to individuals seen (or not seen) by the local drug treatment agency. Having access to drug testing data is a crucial part of the Criminal Justice Project and monitoring DIP, as this is the key route into treatment for offenders who use Class A drugs, through the RA process. PHE do not have access to this information and as a result cannot report on clients engaging with this process until they are seen by a drugs worker. As well as routine reporting, we conduct ad-hoc analysis looking in detail at particular client cohorts, and conduct specific commissioned research on a variety of criminal justice topics including, and in addition to, DIP (i.e. Restrictions on Bail and community orders with treatment requirements such as Drug Rehabilitation Requirements and Alcohol Treatment Requirements).