Reducing racial disparity in drug diversion schemes
To develop good practice in the implementation of diversion schemes, with reference to racial over-representation in the justice system.
Through this grant, Release will bring its experiences of how diversion schemes are operating locally to policing forums and explain how the implementation of such schemes can be improved. Since 2018 it has worked with youth organisations across the region, delivering Y.Stop training to children at risk of stop and search, increasing knowledge of their rights, and adopting a harm reduction approach which seeks to de-escalate the risk of arrest and confrontations when a search occurs. Release will share learning from the diversion scheme to influence police forces in the UK. This will highlight lessons from the implementation of the scheme, especially in relation to reducing disparities, as well as demonstrating the positive benefits that can be expected: improved health and social outcomes for individuals diverted; reduced burden on police resources; reduced rates of re-offending. This is an opportunity to work on ensuring such schemes are benefiting those who need them most, and that they are applied in an equitable manner.