A brand new West Midlands-wide service has launched in police custody. The Cranstoun Arrest Referral Service (CARS) has been commissioned by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner to provide a consistent service for drug and alcohol referrals across the West Midlands area. The service will also work with probation colleagues and in courts to increase the number of Alcohol Treatment Requirements and Drug Rehabilitation Requirements which are proven to reduce re-offending and tackle the drivers behind criminality.

The new service will help to provide wrap around support, not only helping those tackle the root causes of their drug and alcohol problems, but will also help them to get their lives back on track through signposting for a range of services including housing and mental health support.

CARS will enable West Midlands Police to receive a more coordinated response to arrest referral work whilst supporting our vision of offender management in providing greater rehabilitative and supportive pathways to reduce re-offending.

The project creates a clear performance framework and will also provide support to police custody staff, and other operational police officers in decision making around when/when not to conduct drugs tests after arrest.

The programme has been funded by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, who is committed to breaking the cycle of crime, reducing the harm and cost of substance misuse to the region. A cost which has been estimated at £1.4bn per year.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “I’m really pleased to be working with Cranstoun who will be providing this service for us.

“The cost of substance misuse to our region is colossal and any interventions we can make which will reduce the harm of drugs and prevent individuals re-offending is vital. By helping people access support services and get access to the right treatment to get their lives back on track will reduce the cost of substance misuse to the taxpayer.

“This new service will tackle the root causes of criminality and will help to reduce the number of victims in the long run.”

Annie Steele, Director of Operations for Cranstoun, said: “Cranstoun is excited to be working with the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner to bring a force wide Arrest Referral Service to the custody suites of the West Midlands Police.

“We believe everyone should have the opportunity to live healthy, safe and happy lives. Through identifying and offering support within the custody suites to those with drug and alcohol problems, we want to encourage them to access the treatment which will help them to break the cycle of substance related crime, making a difference to their own, and their families’ lives, whilst improving community safety.”

Case study

During the cell visits, we identified a woman who was homeless, offending to fund drug use and whose mental and physical health was declining.

The Arrest Referral Worker listened to them, gave some immediate advice and referred and supported them to access the local drug treatment service. They are now engaged with Cranstoun receiving treatment, attending a Narcotics Anonymous group, have supported accommodation, and are engaging with their GP to improve their physical and mental health.

The individual said at first she couldn’t function. She reports she would not have accessed local services if the arrest referral intervention had not happened when it did. After accessing support, she states she is now happy and content with her life.

Cranstoun