Police in Sheffield city centre have revealed new tactics which could help them tackle the scourge of spice abuse.
Sheffield last week hosted the UK’s first national spice conference, which brought together police, healthcare professionals and charity workers from across the country to discuss the problem.
Officers in Sheffield have shared some of the ideas from that meeting which could be employed to counter the use of spice, a type of synthetic cannabis which can be up to 800 times as powerful as the conventional form of the drug.
The proposals focus on helping users of the mind-altering drug, many of whom are homeless and vulnerable, break the habit and find help.
By supporting them to get their lives on track, police and other services hope to reduce the number of people taking spice - which can leave users in a trance-like state, hence its ‘zombie drug’ nickname – in public places.
Recommendations to encourage spice users to take up the support on offer include making effective use of volunteers, who can be seen as less ‘confrontational’ than professionals, and offering ‘contingency rewards’ to those getting help, from hot drinks to clothing.
Officers from the Sheffield Central neighbourhood policing team said the conference had given them plenty of new ideas.
Posting on Facebook, the team wrote: “This was a great chance to listen to leading speakers in this field from all over the country, and a whole range of services.
“They also had the chance to speak to other policing teams who have encountered similar problems to Sheffield and share their ideas around tackling such issues.
“As a result of attending, officers will now be bringing some new ideas back to the city centre, and are hoping to host a more local conference in early 2019.”