Project ADDER has supported nearly 3,000 organised crime group disruptions in England & Wales
Includes seizure of almost £10 million in cash and over 25,000 arrests in two years
Over 7,000 doses of Naloxone - medication to prevent drug overdose deaths - distributed
Drug treatment for nearly 5,000 people in affected areas
New figures reveal that since launching two years ago, Project ADDER has supported thousands of disruptions against criminal gangs selling drugs in England and Wales and helped thousands of people into drug treatment.
Project ADDER (Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recovery), which recently reached its two-year anniversary, is a programme designed to address drug addiction and tackle supply in the hardest hit local authority areas across England and Wales.
Coordinated police action helps tackle the supply of drugs in the worst affected neighbourhoods. Forces aggressively act on intelligence to disrupt the flow of drugs, while working with partners at a local level to divert vulnerable people into treatment and help them recover from their addiction.
The programme has supported the police make 2,729 interventions against organised criminal gangs, strangling county lines networks which feed the flow of drugs and dislodging criminal operations – maintained through intimidation, violence and exploitation of local people – which dealers seek to profit from.
Officers have seized £9.8 million of cash, made 25,953 arrests and pursued 3,808 drug trafficking and 2,757 weapon possession charge against the individuals behind these ruthless, criminal operations.
Combatting Drugs Minister Chris Philp said:
“These results show Project ADDER is having a significant impact. This Home Office funding has been brought together with funding for treatment and recovery to help clamp down on the gangs in the hardest hit local authorities, who don’t care about the fatal consequences of the substances in the drugs they are selling.
“Ridding streets of dangerous drugs is only one part of Project ADDER. Vulnerable people are supported by tailored programmes to coax them away from addictive substances. Every circumstance is different but under Project ADDER more people in these local authorities are getting the vital support they need.”
£59 million of central government funding supports each Project ADDER foster partnerships between local councils, the police and charities to identify and encourage people in the community into treatment. Once there, drug users can receive therapy and drug rehabilitation.
4,966 people in treatment for drug-use have also benefitted from Project ADDER, while 7,672 Naloxone kits, which reverses the effects of potentially fatal opioid overdoses, have been distributed to keep users safe outside of treatment services.
Health Minister Neil O’Brien said:
“Our trail-blazing response to combatting drug-use is working, and I’m pleased to see the data shows communities are safer thanks to a combination of tough law enforcement and more treatment and recovery services.
“However, we must not lose momentum. Our 10-year drug strategy is driving up drug treatment and we are investing £532 million to tackle addiction. By the end of the parliament, local authority funding for treatment will have grown by 40% compared to 2020.”
There have also been 9,208 Out of Court Disposal orders issued for drug possession offences in Project ADDER areas since the programme began, guiding vulnerable people exploited by gangs away from the criminal justice system and towards holistic treatment.
Project ADDER is a pathfinder for the government’s 10-year Drug Strategy, from Harm to Hope, which is rolling out a bold new approach to reducing drug related harm nationally.
Published in December 2021, the strategy sets out our ambition to significantly increase the capacity of treatment and recovery services in England and Wales. This includes £780 million for drug treatment and recovery – the largest ever single investment which will see 54,500 people receive high quality treatment for addiction in England. We expect this investment to reduce neighbourhood crime like theft which funds drug users’ addiction, leading to 750,000 fewer crimes by the end of 2024/25.
A young person came to the attention of Cleveland police after they had been found in the possession of a weapon. The local authorities were concerned this person was being coerced into dealing drugs. They referred this individual to the ADDER funded independent Bernardo’s Complex Exploitation Team. The team built a positive rapport during one-on-one sessions with the child who was able to open up about being exploited into selling drugs. Because of this intervention, the young person has moved away from criminality. The young person’s parent said the support their child received was “invaluable”.
Acting Chief Inspector of Cleveland Police Nick See said:
“Over the past two years, we have seen some fantastic results in Cleveland through Project ADDER. Through robust enforcement, we have disrupted organised crime groups, brought members before the courts and secured lengthy sentences for those involved.
“We have also done a tremendous amount of work around prevention and early intervention. Vulnerable young people have been supported through an independent Barnardo's Complex Exploitation Team worker while the Get Connected project helped professionals and organisations develop an action plan to tackle youth violence and exploitation in Newport.”
Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner said:
“I’ve seen the fantastic work carried out in Middlesbrough as a result of project ADDER. That’s why I’m funding it for the next two years.
“As Single Responsible Owner for Cleveland’s Combatting Drugs Partnership, I know there is no single fix to stop the blight, which drugs cause on our communities.
“However, with a combination of robust action to disrupt supply, better testing and treatment options and education to lower demand, I feel confident we can severely limit the misery, which drugs cause in our communities.”
In Project ADDER funded areas since July 2021 Cleveland Police has:
Conducted 101 disruptions against organised crime groups