More police from $3m project to fight P

By Mikaela Collins

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NDHB chief executive Nick Chamberlain says a $3m project to reduce 'P' demand in Northland is an aligned approach to enforcement, treatment, and community resilience building. Photo / Michael Cunningham
NDHB chief executive Nick Chamberlain says a $3m project to reduce 'P' demand in Northland is an aligned approach to enforcement, treatment, and community resilience building. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Northland police will be getting eight full time equivalent staff as part of a $3m project to reduce demand for methamphetamine in the region.

Prime Minister John Key announced this week $15m seized under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act will be invested in anti-drug initiatives, with $3m - the largest portion of funding - going towards a police and Ministry of Health initiative to reduce methamphetamine demand in Northland.

Northland District Commander, Superintendent Russell Le Prou, said part of the $3m will go towards an additional team of eight full time equivalent staff in the region.

"Methamphetamine is a significant driver of crime in Northland, and this funding will enable us to make a difference to the problem."

Mr Le Prou said the make up of those positions and the details of their duties will be worked through over the coming weeks.

He said he was excited about working with Northland District Health Board to showcase a "successful methamphetamine reduction initiative".

"The focus will be on reducing the use and therefore demand for methamphetamine in our region. That will reduce the harm methamphetamine causes to our communities."

Northland DHB chief executive Nick Chamberlain said the $3m will also go towards providing additional addiction treatment and community services capacity across the region.

"The new model integrates health and police by building capability in district and community policing, and increasing resources for DHB treatment response for police referrals."

Dr Chamberlain said the project pilots an aligned approach to enforcement, treatment, and community resilience building in Northland.

He said using the Te Ara Oranga recovery based model of care, service users will be able to access services at the right stage of the pathway for their needs, which encourages hope and enhances their strengths, abilities and resilience.

"A major barrier to remaining drug free after treatment is the absence of a stable living environment that supports abstinence," Dr Chamberlain said.

"This pilot offers levels of support that transition through residential treatment to independent living over several months."

The new service is expected to be operational by mid-2017.

- Northern Advocate

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