Letter: War against drugs

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I was disappointed to read your article "Drug addict scheme has 50 per cent failure rate" (8 November). Drug misusers are responsible for a large proportion of acquisitive crime and are one of the most difficult groups of offenders to target. In this context, the current performance of the Government's Drug Treatment and Testing Order (DTTO) pilots is actually better than anticipated.

While it is true that 77 of the 145 orders had been breached, only 44 (30 per cent) had been revoked, which is consistent with initial projections. DTTOs are aimed at a difficult group of offenders and it is no surprise that many of them do not comply with their sentences at first. The high breach rate shows that probation services are enforcing the sentence and taking defaulters back to the court.

DTTOs are just one part of a strategy to break the link between drug- taking and crime. The DTTO pilots run until the end of March 2000. Subject to successful evaluation, pounds 40m will be available to roll out the scheme nationally.

CHARLES CLARKE

Minister of State

Home Office

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