Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker says those who go that extra mile to tackle drug use to change lives and transform communities should be nominated for an award.
An expert panel will choose ten finalists from different regions of England and Wales, before selecting two overall winners. Two awards are available: one for an individual and another for a team. Winners will each receive £10,000 to spend on continuing, expanding or improving their work in the drugs field at a ceremony which will celebrate their successs later this year.
The Home Office wants to recognise, reward and celebrate the people who make a real difference everyday on the front line. There are many possibilities, examples include those who work for organisations that provide diversionary sports training, work with drug misusing offenders or professionals who counsel and treat drug users, families and friends.
Launching the awards in Brighton, Vernon Coaker said:
'I know that drug workers and drug teams across the country are working tirelessley everyday to tackle drugs and change lives. In fact, I have met many people and teams who deserve to be nominated for these awards.
'In recent years we have introduced tough legislation to tackle drug supply and remain committed to informing young people of drug dangers through information campaigns like FRANK.
'I want to do more, but I know we cannot achieve our goals without professionals and volunteers going that extra mile. These awards recognise their inspirational examples, which will help us to realise our ambition of fewer people starting to use drugs and for our society to be free from the problems caused by illegal substances'.
Those who took part in the recent National Tackling Drugs Week, over 19-23 May 2008, are the kind of professionals and volunteers who could be nominated for the £10,000 prize.
Among the events that took place:
As well as raising awareness of what is being done to tackle drug use across the country, National Tackling Drugs Week also bore down on drug dealers. Police around England and Wales:
- East Riding hosted a series of awareness roadshows where residents had the opportunity to learn about what is being done to tackle drug use in their area
- Cumbria Drugs and Alcohol Services staged open days throughout the north-west
- Bolton hosted plays for young people with anti-drugs messages
- in Lincolnshire police visited schools to talk to young people about the dangers of drugs and promote the Rat on a Rat campaign
- Dorset police open days in drop in centres across the country
Tony Melville, Deputy Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police and Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead for National Tackling Drugs Week said:
- seized over £1 million of criminals' cash and Class A drugs
- arrested 1,567 people
- took 52 firearms and imitation firearms and 89 other weapons including crossbows off the street
- destroyed nine cannabis farms and closed 19 crack houses
'Working with local communities is essential for gathering accurate information and ensuring effective local action to tackle drugs problems. Forces across the country demonstrated some of the significant work they are undertaking everyday regarding drug enforcement druing National Tackling Drugs Week earlier this year.
'Police forces and individual officers work tirelessly to tackle drug use in their communities. This is an excellent opportunity for those who go the extra mile to be recognised for the work that they do every day. This is an excellent initiative and one that ACPO welcomes'.