Cleveland PCC Steve Turner has a high profile role as part of a new task force to tackle illegal drugs across the force area.
Steve has taken the role of Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) in Cleveland’s Combatting Drugs Partnership.
The Partnership will oversee the delivery and coordination of the Government’s From Harm to Hope drug strategy locally.
The strategy is a mix of help for individuals to recover and work to clamp down on the drugs’ supply chain and dealers. Its key objectives are to:
- Break drug supply chains
- Deliver a world class treatment and recovery system
- Achieve a shift in the demand for recreational drugs
Steve chaired the first meeting of the partnership this week. Members are currently deciding on their priorities for action for the current year. The partnership’s membership is drawn from the criminal justice and health sectors.
He will also act as the Government’s key local contact for its 10-year combatting drugs strategy.
Steve will bring together local partners and work with them a shared local plan. It will aim to deliver against the Government’s national objectives.
In addition, he will hold key partners to account, help to resolve any ongoing issues and drive improvements across the system.
Steve will also give the Government regular progress reports from the Cleveland Partnership.
He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to work with local partners to tackle the recreational use of drugs
“I’ve been clear since taking up this role that combatting drugs is one of my top priorities.
“Illegal drugs do not only effect the people, who take them. They are a blight on our communities.
“The criminal activity and organised crime gangs associated with illegal drugs and their supply bring misery to large parts of our towns and villages.
“Their reach ranges from criminal associates fighting over drug debts and in turf wars to the children and young people groomed to become part of the County Lines supply chain.”
From Harm to Hope
The Government’s From Harm to Hope strategy sets ambitious national targets for cutting the supply and misuse of drugs across England and Wales. It also sets targets for better support to help addicts recover. Objectives include:
- Closing down an additional 2,000 County Lines supply chains within three years;
- Disrupting 6,400 activities of organised criminal gangs (OCGs;)
- Seizing additional cash and property gained as a result of drug-related criminal activity;
- Preventing up to 1,000 deaths from drugs’ misuse;
- Providing 54,500 high quality treatment places;
- Preventing up to 250,000 crimes committed as a result of illegal drug dealing or taking;
- Reducing drug use to a 30-year low over the next decade.
The Government has said every force area in England and Wales should have a Local Combatting Drugs Partnership, chaired by a Single Responsible owner (SRO)
By the end of this year, partnerships will publish plans on how they aim to help the Government achieve its targets locally.
According to From Harm to Hope, the UK is now Europe’s largest heroin market and a target for international drug trafficking gangs
From Harm to Hope was developed after Professor Dame Carol Black published research into the UK’s drug problems.
Dame Carol visited Middlesbrough last month to meet Steve Turner along with other key heath and policing partners.
Partners are involved with Project ADDER. They are working to halt the supply of drugs and provide support to those, who are caught in the cycle of misuse.
The first meeting of Cleveland’s Combatting Drugs Partnership took place on Tuesday 27 September 2022.