Police focus on prolific offenders to tackle burglary

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Humberside Police know that the vast majority of crime in a community is carried out by a small number of prolific offenders. To deal with this issue police and multi-agency partners work together to try and ensure they don’t re-offend through various measures and interventions

Integrated Offender Management (IOM) is one such measure which brings together organisations from the public, private and voluntary/community sector including the police and probation service to tackle prolific offenders through intensive programmes combining rehabilitation and enforcement.

The Police Officers work with offenders at high risk of re-offending to support changes in offender behaviour and remove issues which influence offending. That support can range from assistance in finding accommodation, obtaining training and employment, right through to anger management and treatment for substance misuse. If offenders commit further crimes, they will be swiftly caught and brought to justice.

Without help to break the cycle of crime many offenders spend large parts of their lives revolving around the criminal justice system. Causing harm to themselves, their families and the communities they live in as well as costing the taxpayer huge amounts of money.

Detective Chief Inspecor Dave Houchin said: “IOM is a great demonstration of how the combined efforts of partners in the criminal justice process, with each contributing their individual expertise, has really made a difference. It is easy to sit in judgement, but the reasons why people engage in a life of crime that they struggle to escape from are many and varied. Specialists tackling the underlying causes is proven to be the most effective means of reducing reoffending. When this is combined with a prioritised police response to catch and convict those that choose not to engage, the overall effect is very powerful and has been a major factor in reducing crime in recent years.”

In December 2012, Humberside Police and Probation started a pilot scheme across the Humberside area to track some of the force’s most prolific offenders. With Buddi Trackers being fitted to offenders enable police to pinpoint the location of offenders at all times. The pilot has helped cut the numbers of crimes committed by known offenders.

Up to the end of March 2014 over 65 offenders had been tagged. The offenders involved in the scheme all voluntarily agreed to be tagged in order to deter them from offending or prove they were not involved in criminal activity. It resulted in most of the wearers not offending, with wears admitting the tag had been a strong deterrent as they realised that they would be questioned about their reasons for being in certain locations.

The effectiveness of the tag as a enforcement tool was highlighted with the following example. A prolific offender who had numerous previous convictions for theft related offences including dwelling burglary agreed to be tagged. He wore a tag from 31st July 2013 to 15th August 2013. He appeared to be engaging and keeping to his licence conditions. However, when a burglary occurred which had similarities to his previous MO, a check of the Buddi system revealed that he had been at the location of the burglary at the time of the offence. He was immediately arrested and fully admitted the offence. The Buddi evidence was not challenged at court and he was convicted.

DCI Houchin added: “Many offenders would like to stop committing crime but need support. Pressure from peers or substance addiction can make that difficult and really challenge their self control. Knowing that their movements will be checked if they are suspected of committing a crime can provide the additional incentive that they need to influence more positive decision making and it is really encouraging that people are willing to voluntarily engage.”

Other people who are not subjects of intensive offender management as part of IOM, but are still believed to be committing offence in Hull are also identified by the police. These individuals are then visited by incident response officers during their shifts to ensure that they are not offending.

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