How agencies work together to help people break the cycle of reoffending.
Leicestershire Police, the Probation Service and other agencies across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland have refreshed their integrated offender management programme following the publication of new national guidance.
Integrated Offender Management (IOM) provides a way in which criminal justice agencies and other partners can share information and work together to help and supervise a small, targeted group of offenders who are considered to be highly likely to re-offend. As well as the police and the National Probation Service, IOM involves agencies who work in the field of drug and alcohol dependency; debt; health; housing, benefits; education and accommodation services.
The Home Office and Ministry of Justice’s National Integrated Offender Management Strategy has recently been refreshed following recommendations made in a joint report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.
IOM in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland currently manages just over 250 offenders but is looking to increase the number of referrals.
Detective Superintendent Michelle Keen from Leicestershire Police said: “We know that people who reoffend often have many complicated needs, including substance misuse, housing and employment needs, financial problems and mental health issues. Working together with other agencies under the Integrated Offender Management programme, we can identify what the key issues are and find which agency is best placed to offer help. Only by identifying and addressing the underlying causes of criminal behaviour can we work together to stop it, lead people away from a life of crime and prevent further harm."
Kevin Brown grew up on the Highfields in the 1980s and has been in prison 54 times. He remembers the riots of 1984, being huddled on the floor with his siblings listening to sirens, crashing and smashing of glass and the sound of anger and extreme violence. He was terrified. He had a chaotic childhood which led him to start drinking at the age of nine. He was living on the streets from the age of 13 and turned to drugs, and then drug dealing, to help him cope. Things quickly spiralled out of control and he ended up homeless and in debt. Kevin did not want to engage with agencies for many years but thanks to the dogged persistence of one officer he stopped committing crime six years ago and has also beaten his drug addiction.
He said: “The person I hated the most was the person who cared about me the most and that was a police officer. He visited me so many times I thought he was harassing me but his determination to help me saved my life. He got me into rehab with the support of drugs workers who, along with others, helped to sort out accommodation for me.”
Thanks to the support from a range of agencies Kevin has been able to turn his life around and is now volunteering for the Carpenters Arms, a Christian run residential rehabilitation centre for men challenged by drug and alcohol addiction in Loughborough. He’s helping others to avoid what he did and get out of the cycle of reoffending.
The Head of Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland Probation Service Bob Bearne said: “To stop people reoffending we might need to get them off drugs, off the streets and into work and that means working with partners across Leicestershire and Rutland to get them the support they need. It will help make our streets safer, reducing crime and also help offenders turn their lives around.”
IOM is part funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Rupert Matthews, said: “Crime prevention comes in many forms and the most successful will always be a joint-agency approach. We have to tackle the issues that drive people to commit crime and help them move on with their lives. This needs specialist intervention as enforcement alone will not necessarily solve the problem.
“To me, this joint approach makes absolute sense and I will be keeping a very close and interested eye on the outcomes.”