The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) works with local agencies to break the cycle of reoffending.
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Mark Shelford is committed to bringing together local partners to prevent and reduce reoffending.
“We are focused on working in partnership to help prevent offending and driving down reoffending rates to ensure safer communities in Avon and Somerset.”PCC Mark Shelford
Mark’s commitment to the agenda is clear and he is chairing the Local Criminal Justice Board, which brings together relevant partners to help reduce crime. The reasons individuals reoffend are often multiple, complex, and interlinked. To address those reasons and help people to choose a path away from offending, a multi-agency approach is required.
There are two main streams of work:
Avon & Somerset Reducing Reoffending Board
Our office has reinvigorated the local Reducing Reoffending Board. This is the key forum for all partners involved in the criminal justice system to focus efforts that reduce reoffending.
- To provide oversight and coordination of reducing reoffending work across Avon and Somerset.
- To provide strategic oversight and governance of Integrated Offender Management (IOM).
- To develop priorities that provide areas to focus efforts.
- To bring together and support partner agencies with the objective of sharing information, improving efficiency, and sharing best practice.
- To discuss opportunities for co-design and co-commissioning across statutory, VCS and private sector agencies.
Priorities of the board have been agreed and are:
- 16 – 25 year olds
- Integrated Offender Management
- Women in the Criminal Justice System
South West Reducing Reoffending Partnership
Some issues impacting reoffending are better tackled at a regional level. The South West Reducing Reoffending Partnership (SWRRP) was established in March 2019. Bringing together partners from across the South West to support multi-agency work to tackle some of the main causes of reoffending (such as lack of accommodation, access to health services and employment opportunities).
The Partnership is made up of a range of criminal justice partners, which includes:
- Ministry of Justice
- Probation Service
- The Department of Work and Pensions.
- The South West regional Police and Crime Commissioners
- The voluntary sector
- Youth Justice Board
Together, they aim to reduce the frequency and harm of reoffending by adults and children in order to reduce crime and prevent further victims. The SWRRP is currently particularly focused on improving outcomes for people in the criminal justice system with a substance misuse and / or mental health need.
The innovative partnership deliver a number of ambitious projects, including our Prisoners Building Homes Programme – an exciting initiative which involves prisoners working with modular housing providers to build low carbon, environmentally friendly modular homes for local communities and vulnerable people across the South West. It provides an opportunity to reduce reoffending by ensuring prisoners have the skills they need to help secure employment upon their release, whilst addressing the housing crisis in the South West.
This video which explains the Prisoners Building Homes Programme in more detail.
Following the national review of the Police and Crime Commissioners’ (PCC) role, an opportunity has arisen for all PCCs to have the ability to work across the Criminal Justice System (CJS) in more depth.
Such work will focus on cutting crime, drugs misuse and anti-social behaviour while continuing to strengthen holding the police and CJS to account to the public.
The review examined how PCCs could become more involved in offender management in their local area, including through being more involved with community payback schemes.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 introduced a new statutory duty requiring the Probation Service to consult with key local stakeholders on the delivery of Community Payback in their area.
The duty will encourage greater collaboration with partners who understand their local places, priorities and issues; thereby helping to ensure that Community Payback projects are responsive to need.
Work is underway on the secondary legislation needed to bring the duty into force. In the meantime PCCs remain a key partner for Regional Probation Directors (RPDs), working collaboratively to shape Community Payback projects and ensure they target areas of need.
The PCC has two responsibilities regarding Community Payback:
- Championing Community Payback and canvassing views on Community Payback opportunities
- Convening partners to leverage greater Community Payback opportunities.
Nominate a community payback project
Community engagement is strongly encouraged with Community Payback and anyone can propose a project in their area via the nominations process on the Gov.uk website.
The Drive Project is a response to domestic abuse that aims to reduce the number of child and adult victims of domestic abuse by disrupting and changing perpetrator behaviour.
The Drive Project first launched in April 2016, addressing a systemic gap in the response to high-harm, high-risk and serial perpetrators of abuse. It is currently being delivered in nine police force areas across England and Wales. These same areas have seen a significant reduction in the use of abuse amongst service users.
This national programme underwent a three-year (2016-2019) independent evaluation by the University of Bristol. Their evaluation was release in February 2020 and found that the intervention reduced:
- the number of perpetrators using physical abuse by 82%;
- sexual abuse by 88%;
- harassment and stalking behaviours by 75%
- jealous and controlling behaviours by 73%.
This national programme implements a whole-system approach through an intensive individual case management intervention, alongside a co-ordinated multi-agency response to drive perpetrators to change their behaviour. The project focuses on increasing victim safety alongside the crucial protective work of victims’ services.
Click here for more information on the national Drive Project.
South Gloucestershire Drive
Since February 2021, charity partner Cranstoun have been delivering the Drive programme across South Gloucestershire. This work has been funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), South Gloucestershire Council, and the National Lottery.
The South Gloucestershire Drive Programme has worked with over 220 domestic abuse perpetrators and over 670 associated survivors.
Following this successful Drive delivery across South Gloucestershire, the OPCC with the support of Avon and Somerset Police, South Gloucestershire, Bristol and North Somerset Local Authorities have submitted an application to the Home Office Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Intervention Fund.