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Leicestershire police launches innovative new campaign to tackle drug related violence

Ease off, before it kicks off’ – the message of Leicestershire Police’s new behaviour change campaign which aims to reduce and prevent violent crime within the night time economy caused by cocaine use.

Designed by police colleagues and behaviour change experts, the data-led campaign, which is aimed at men aged between 18 and 40-years-old, encourages men using cocaine on a night out to get support and take back control.

Launching today (Tuesday 1 August), #CharlieIsInControl comes following a detailed study which has shown a rise in low-level violence in the night-time economy related to cocaine use.

The campaign creatively turns ‘Charlie’, a reference for cocaine, into a character. Charlie’s influence becomes clear from the campaign video as he is presented as manipulative and controlling. A representation is made of how cocaine changes a person’s behaviour and the relationships they have with others.

"Violent Crime such as actual bodily harm (ABH), assault or affray happening in the night time economy related to cocaine use has risen by 27% over the last two years.

“Since July 2022, we have studied a cohort of 600 individuals as part of the Drugs Testing on Arrest programme (DToA). The aim of DToA is to identify individuals arrested for criminal offences who would benefit from drug treatment or support, and divert them to such services. Being involved in this data collection has helped to identify repeating factors and led to us forming this campaign.

“Our aim is simple - we want to increase engagement with support services which are available to help stop cocaine use and to encourage changed behaviour. Taking cocaine can cause lasting harm. We want people affected by cocaine use to get the support and to take back control.”

Leicestershire’s local support service for substance misuse, Turning Point, have supported the project by providing key insight to help design suitable learning material. The educational campaign content will be shown to those in custody at a time when they are reflecting on their behaviour and actions.

Turning Point currently work within Leicestershire Police’s custody suites by offering confidential advice and support as a first step towards making a positive change. The campaign aims to increase custody referrals and self-made referrals for those who also need help but are not in custody.

Klaudia Wawrzyniak, Specialist Custody Suite Advanced Recovery Practitioner at Turning Point, said: “We have worked closely in collaboration with Leicestershire Police to develop this powerful campaign. Its aim is to educate people and offer a point of reflection of the impact drugs and alcohol have when related to subsequent offending. Allowing people to make alternative choices on a night out.

“Through working in the custody suites, we have seen increasing numbers of people having been found in a police cell under the influence of cocaine and alcohol. We look forward to utilising this material in various interventions with service users across the service, including group work and 1:1 key work appointments.”

Leicestershire Police developed the project with support from Together Agency and partners, Turning Point. The campaign will launch today across social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

For full details and further information visit: #CharlieIsInControl


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