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Cutting Prolific Crime in Southend: the key players get together

Posted: 27th March 2014 by Essex CRC.
IOM event group pic Mar 2014
IOM event group pic Mar 2014

Key players in cutting crime gathered in Southend to discuss next steps in dealing with prolific offenders in the town

The Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner alongside Probation and Police Chiefs met with senior Southend Council representatives and local agencies to take a look at the Integrated Offender Management [1] scheme which has been having success with long-term offenders.

“These offenders are the group that needs to be coerced into working with Probation to deal with their drug and alcohol issues, their attitudes and their lack of skills,” said Chief Superintendent Luke Collison, of Essex Police. “In a nutshell, they either cooperate to address the causes of their criminal behaviour, or they are targeted.”

“Working in the same offices together brings an immediacy of contact between agencies never experienced before,” said Rob Tinlin, Chief Executive, Southend Borough Council. “The instant sharing of information, leading to an immediate practical response, including quicker enforcement, can only be a major positive. Each member of the team brings their unique knowledge, experience and expertise to the job.”

“All partners have learned from each other, and offenders seem to respond to the combination of Probation and Police staff working together,” said Gill Hirst, Director leading Probation in the Southend area. “It makes good sense.”

“IOM has been part of a key strategic plan for crime reduction, and has the backing of the Police and Crime Commissioner,” said Lindsay Whitehouse, his Deputy. “The good news is that IOM helps us work more effectively and smarter. We are now looking to broaden our partnership with local agencies and organisations in Southend.”

Next plans include the increased involvement in IOM of more community agencies in the Southend area.

(Pictured above: Deputy PCC Lindsay Whitehouse discussing next steps with Chief Superintendent Luke Collison; Gill Hirst,  Probation Director for Southend; Rob Tinlin, Chief Executive of Southend Borough Council and others. A well-attended event, with Southend councillors and agencies across the area playing a big part.)

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[1] Integrated Offender Management, planned as a joint Police-Probation initiative about three years ago, enables co-location of Police and Probation in Probation Offices, working with other partner agencies and Southend Council to target a named group of offenders. Using a carrot and stick approach, their aim is to cut the amount of crime committed by many of those ‘revolving door’ offenders who spend their lives in and out of prison on short-term sentences. About two-thirds of IOM targets are those offenders with a community order or released from prison who are likely to resist the helping programmes which are known to cut crime. Another third do not have any kind of court order, but intelligence indicates that they are on the periphery of criminal activity. It is now possible to work with them also, through IOM.

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A typical case:

A long-term drug user in his 40s who committed numerous domestic burglaries, alongside being a prolific shoplifter, was given a Community Order with drug treatment. For most of the Order he attended appointments, but it was clear his engagement was superficial. In the summer of 2013 he met a new partner and was anxious to hold on to this relationship. But how to change his usual response to people taking charge of his life and showing him a different way of dealing with it? He was persuaded to engage with the IOM Scheme, meeting both police and probation team members. He started attending the IOM Drop-in on a regular basis, and participating in other activities provided through IOM. A volunteer brought in by IOM also started working with him and his new partner. Encouraged by this opportunity for a more ‘normal’ way of life, the offender became increasingly determined not to slip back into his old lifestyle. It was about this time that he spoke to IOM Police about voluntarily being fitted with an electronic tag.

For the last few months, he has been offence free, and is working on his drug problem. The combination of an extensive support package in the community, the joint work of Police and Probation, and volunteering/other activities made available through the IOM scheme has helped this offender to a much better place where he now has a reason to further change his behaviour in the future.