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Offender Management

A multi-million pound investment in Offender Management by West Midlands Police over recent years has seen re-offending rates driven down to new lows while the number of officers dedicated to preventing criminals committing more crime has tripled.

The West Midlands is now one of the top performing areas for helping criminals break their cycle of offending and getting them to turn over a new leaf.

And with around 250 officers dedicated solely to managing offenders across the region, the force’s ability to rapidly return re-offenders to prison has dramatically increased.

The dedicated officers are also now better poised to respond to reports from drug support groups that ex-offenders have once again become dependent on drugs as identified in one of their routine screenings. Where drug use is forbidden under the terms of their conditions of release from prison, they can be immediately recalled to serve the rest of their sentence from behind bars.

Between April 2013 and March 2014 West Midlands Police investigated 174,515 crimes across the county. This is around half of the crime rates of a decade ago, with 349,938 reported offences over the same period in 2002/2003.

Offender Management

Here are the answers to some of the questions we regularly get asked about offender management:

Q. What is Integrated Offender Management?
A. Integrated Offender Management (IOM) is an overarching framework that allows local and partner agencies to come together to ensure that the offenders whose crimes cause most damage and harm locally are managed in a co-ordinated way.

Q. How many prolific offenders are there in the West Midlands?
A. There are approximately 7,315 offenders across the force currently being managed by our Offender Management teams.

Q. What schemes are in place to divert these offenders?
A. There are many diversionary schemes in place across the force, all of which have one aim – to reduce re-offending by identifying what makes an offender break the law. By finding out what this ‘trigger’ is, we can identify which diversionary scheme is best for the individual.

There are a number of diversionary pathways which are carried out across the West Midlands, these are:

  1. Drugs and alcohol:
  • Two thirds of prisoners use illegal drugs in the year before imprisonment
  • Alcohol is linked to 30 per cent of sexual offences, 33 per cent of burglaries and 50 per cent of all violent crimes.
  1. Education, training and employment:
  • Being in employment can reduce the risk of re-offending by one third
  • There is a correlation between offending, poor literacy, language and numeracy skills and low achievement.
  1. Prince’s Trust
  2. Accommodation and support:
  • One third of prisoners do not have settled accommodation prior to custody
  • Accommodation can reduce re-offending by more than a fifth
  1. Thinking, attitudes and behaviour:
  • Offenders more likely to have negative social attitudes and poor self-control. Successfully addressing their attitudes, thinking and behaviour may reduce re-offending by up to 14 per cent.
  1. Finance, benefits and debt:
  • Around 48 per-cent of prisoners report a history of debt, which gets worse for a third of them during custody
  • 81 per cent of offenders claim benefit on release from prison
  1. Children and families:
  • Strong relationships with families can play a major role in helping offenders to change into desistance
  1. Health:
  • Offenders are disproportionately more likely to suffer from mental and physical health problems than the general population and also have high rates of alcohol misuse.
  • 31 per cent of adult prisoners were found to have emotional wellbeing issues linked to their offending behaviour.

Q. What are main aims of Offender Management?
A. Control: Preventing risk of harm and re-offending through enforcement of restrictive conditions or arrest.
Change: Supporting ex-offenders away from a life of offending through the removal of offending triggers through effective partnership interventions and to encourage change.

Q. When was the Offender Management team first set up?
A. In 2004 West Midlands Police set up teams of officers to effectively manage prolific offenders.

Q. How does the Prince’s Trust scheme help stop the offending cycle?
A. A ‘carrot and stick’ approach sees petty criminals, particularly teenagers, diverted away from offending and offered innovative alternatives to police cautions or court hearings. Many are helped to complete self-improvement courses – like the police-run Prince’s Trust Team programme - and given continued support via partner agencies and charities.

Offender Management

Now in its seventh year, the scheme has contributed significantly to the drop in re-offending rates across the region and has helped almost 2,000 people, aged between 16 and 25, focus on their futures. Delivered directly from police stations, it is unique to West Midlands Police and has helped transform thousands of young lives.

For more information on proven re-offending statistics, visit the Ministry of Justice website.