The Project
Training Criminal Justice Professionals in Harm Reduction Services for Vulnerable Groups (TCJP) is a research project funded by the Directory General Health & Consumer Protection of the European Commission. The project comprises research in five European Member States (Bulgaria, England, Germany, Latvia, Romania) under the coordination of the Scientific Institute of the German Medical Association (WIAD) in close collaboration with the Birmingham City University (BCU). The project started in December 2007 and has a duration of three years.

TCJP supports key Commission strategies on addictive substances and in particular the EU Drugs Strategy and Drug Action Plan: its general objective is to develop and improve the training for professionals working in the criminal justice system (CJS) on the front line with problem drug users, specifically aiming at the implementation and sustainability of harm reduction programmes for vulnerable groups like prisoners to prevent transmission of infectious diseases like HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis. The key focus will be on the experiences and needs of criminal justice professionals including views and perceptions of problem drug users ("service users").

Instead of the communication of existing concepts, the project will develop and provide new approaches: it will present a synthesis of existing expertise by seminars and document analysis and conduct qualitative and quantitative research in the field to investigate existing practice and to identify gaps in training from the perspective of a range of participants in order to develop new materials based on the findings. The training materials will be tested in Bulgaria, Latvia and Romania, further developed and disseminated to a wide audience of professionals and organisations working with problem drug users.

By presenting gaps in current training programmes and examples of good practice, the project offers an opportunity for EU members to inform the development of their training in harm reduction and related issues for CJS staff, to develop actions for providing and exchanging good practice, to promote cross-cutting and integrated approaches across several health determinants and to promote and stimulate countries' efforts.