Michael Baker KC

Michael Baker KC

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Choices and consequences

How does a drug addict who yearns to change their life around do so? HH Michael Baker QC explains one police force’s pioneering scheme.

Drug addicts do not have an easy life. Class A drugs do not come cheap. Purloined property can only be fenced for a fraction of its value. Thousands of pounds worth of goods may have to be burgled or otherwise nefariously acquired each week in order to feed a Class A drug habit. And the addict is constantly looking over his shoulder, suspicious, insecure and afraid. Not surprisingly many addicts yearn for a quieter, easier and better life. In 2006 Hertfordshire Police pioneered an interviewing technique based on this desire for a changed way of life. By befriending suitable addicts and respecting their aspirations they persuaded them to admit to all their past offending in a series of drive-rounds and interviews. So effective was this that, by the time they got to court, they often had scores – sometimes several hundreds – of offences waiting to be taken into consideration.

30 November 2013
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