Cheshire project wins national award from Howard League Date published: 15th November 2017 2.33pm

A project which supports people with gambling problems in order to prevent future crime has won a national award.

Detective Sergeant Brian Faint who led the project picked up the national award from Howard League for the Penal Reform Community Award 2017 after devising ‘Problem Gambling – Diversion Pathway for the Criminal Justice System’.

The project was nominated in the ‘Policing and Adult’ category and DS Faint attended the awards ceremony with Neil Platt, Head Clinician at Beacon Counselling Trust, in London on Wednesday, 8 November.

Detective Sergeant Brian Faint said: “I identified that in excess of £8 million worth of fraud had been committed to fund problematic gambling from a number of offenders in Cheshire. There was a need for the Constabulary to address the root causes for problem gambling related criminality and this is being achieved by working in partnership with partner agencies from the private sector, which have experts in the field of treatment.”

The project, which was set up in July 2016, is the first of its kind in the country and provides a unique opportunity to provide treatment for people committing crime, while presenting themselves as a problem gambler.

The individual identified is educated, counselled and rehabilitated in order to reduce the cycle of reoffending with the project being developed to seek opportunities for integration into the Criminal Justice System for alternative sanctions through Conditional Cautioning and Community Resolution.

DS Faint added: “This national recognition for the work carried out, to identify and support problem gamblers has taken two years of hard work from a number of differing people. I would personally like to thank everyone who has supported me in this work, but in particular the Health Care workers who screened for the offenders.

“To achieve this national award makes me extremely honoured, and proud that I am able to help people at a critical juncture of their life by diverting them into treatment. I would also like to thank management for their support and encouragement in the delivery of this ground breaking project, which had never been attempted previously in the United Kingdom.”

Acting Deputy Chief Constable Darren Martland said: “I am extremely proud of Brian for the dedication and commitment that he has shown, in additional to carrying out his role as a Detective Sergeant in the Cheshire Constabulary, in developing and implementing the innovative programme.

“I would like to thank Brian, Beacon Counselling Trust, Gamcare and Mitie Care and Custody for all their dedication to developing the programme, which helps to offer much needed to advice, help and support in order to help people to address problematic gambling and, hopefully, prevent them from re-offending.”