WEST Mercia's police and crime commissioner (PCC) has welcomed a project tackling drug reoffending in the region after it was highlighted by a celebrated medical practioner.

John Campion thanked Professor Dame Carol Black for highlighting the DIVERT project which sends users to support and health services once found in possession of small amounts of drugs.

According to the PCC, this aims to prevent the lifelong ramifications of criminal convictions, or involvement in more serious crimes.

Since launching in West Mercia last year, the project has received an average of 43 referrals per month, with cannabis accounting for 75.3 per cent of those assessed.

Professor Black has backed the project, and visited West Mercia to hear how DIVERT is tackling drug related harm in the community.

She said: “I regard drug dependency as a chronic health condition, and it has been shown that early intervention can help break the cycle of dependency.

“I look forward to hearing about the Divert Scheme as it could have an important benefit – not just for individuals but also for wider society.”

Mr Campion sees DIVERT as part of a wider project of change.

Her added: “By diverting drug users to support and health services, we can make a real culture change that ensures the best outcomes for everyone.

“It is an absolute honour to have Dame Carol visit us so we can share the approach we are taking in West Mercia.

"I hope she can see we share her vision and commitment to ensuring drugs aren’t causing harm in communities.”