A new pilot scheme that urges people found with ‘small quantities of drugs’ to attend support services, rather than face arrest, could be rolled out in Bucks.

In December the Thames Valley Police (TVP) launched its drugs diversion scheme in West Berkshire – which aims to reduce drugs-related deaths and prevent reoffending.

At the time, Assistant Chief Constable, Jason Hogg, said people would be encouraged to engage with addiction services, however if they failed to attend then they would face prosecution if they are later found in possession of drugs.

TVP confirmed this week that an evaluation of the pilot is due to take place in May – once those who have been referred have completed session with the drugs service provider.

Once the evaluation has taken place, the force will decide whether or not to roll it out across other areas of the Thames Valley, including Bucks.

People found to be in possession of larger quantities of drugs or those suspected of supplying illegal substances will face arrest and prosecution.

A spokesman for Bucks County Council said the authority is “looking forward” to receiving the results of the evaluation – adding that successful treatment of drug addiction can help reduce crime.

The spokesman said: “We look forward to receiving the results of the evaluation of this work in West Berkshire, and pending the results we welcome the opportunity to work closely with partners, including Thames Valley Police, to support earlier referrals into drug and alcohol treatment.

“Evidence tells us that the earlier someone is referred into treatment, the greater their chances of successfully completing treatment.

“Many people who have a drug addiction engage in criminal activity to fund their illicit drug use, therefore successfully treating drug addiction can support reducing crime.

“Criminal gangs can exploit young people to distribute drugs, known as ‘county lines’. Supporting these young people can also help prevent this exploitation.”