Working with Sacro, City of Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Prison Service, Lothian and Borders Police say their so called ‘Integrated Offender Management scheme is aimed at what police term “vulnerable offenders” – those who are involved in thefts or prostitution – to fund their abuse.
Lothian and Borders Police Assistant Chief Constable Mike McCormick said: “This joint initiative will provide practical support to repeat offenders to help them on their journey to recovery.
“Ultimately we hope it will reduce their criminal behaviour and encourage re-integration to their local communities.
“The benefit to the wider community will be in the long term savings in health and criminal justice costs.”
The idea behind the scheme is to deliver a care package aimed at treating and rehabilitating their addictions.
If they relapse, the teams will be expected to support them back into the scheme, to try and end their culture of crime.
Lothian and Borders Police estimate such offenders will commit a crime every day – 365 days a year.
If they are caught, police say it costs the taxpayer £32,000 a year to have someone imprisoned for a year.
The scheme, if it works, is hoped to put an end to both the crimes and the need for such punishments.
ACC McCormick added: “There is no doubt this will be very challenging for some of the offenders – all of whom will volunteer for the pilot.
“However they will be supported on every step of the journey and the benefits to the public and to the offenders will be great.
“Through this work we believe they will reduce their dependency on drugs and alcohol, reduce their offending, and reduce the time they spend in police custody or even prison.”
Michelle Millar, chief social work officer at City of Edinburgh Council, said the pilot was a valuable addition to their arsenal.
She added: “I particularly welcome the prospect of a reduction in offences such as housebreaking or theft which can have such a devastating impact on people in our communities.”
Lucy Florquin, Service Manager with Sacro, said Sacro was delighted to be involved.
She said: “We firmly believe that providing intensive support to those repeatedly involved in the criminal justice system and who have problematic drug/alcohol use is the most effective way to encourage them to desist from offending and reduce their drug use”.