Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) Annual Report 2002/2003 (English Version)
Alternative Text Version - Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) Annual Report 2002/2003 (English Version)
Foreword - By Paul Goggins
As the recently appointed Minister with responsibility for the MAPPA, I am pleased to introduce this, the second annual MAPPA report.
It is clear that in the last year (2002/3) the multi-agency public protection arrangements (the MAPPA) continued to play an important role in what remains one of this government's highest priorities – the protection of the public from dangerous offenders.
As someone with many years experience of working in the field of child protection, I am particularly impressed by the important contribution the MAPPA are making to strengthen collaboration between agencies at a local level where the focus is on the dangerous offender.
These improvements must, however, impact on the protection of children. As the tragic death of Victoria Climbie showed, an effective multi-agency partnership is crucial and the MAPPA are an important element.
To ensure greater consistency in the MAPPA across the 42 Areas of England and Wales, and to prepare for the implementation of measures contained in the Criminal Justice Bill, we published the MAPPA Guidance in April.
Building on good practice, that Guidance clarified the structure of the operational
arrangements as well as the importance of formal review and monitoring – of which this annual report is a vital part.
The Criminal Justice Bill will strengthen the MAPPA in two ways. First, it will make the
involvement of other agencies part of the statutory framework. Second, it will introduce the involvement of lay people – those unconnected with day-to-day operation of the MAPPA – in reviewing and monitoring the MAPPA.
Annual reports and this new lay involvement show the Government's commitment to explaining how the often sensitive and complex work of public protection is undertaken.
The Government is also strengthening the protection of the public with other measures in the Criminal Justice Bill.
They include new sentences for dangerous offenders to prevent their release if they continue to be dangerous. Additionally, the Sexual Offences Bill will tighten up sex offender registration, introduce a new offence of 'grooming', and enable sex offender orders to be imposed on violent offenders who pose a risk of causing serious sexual harm – thereby extending sex offender registration
I commend this report to you and congratulate all the agencies and individuals who have contributed to the achievement of the MAPPA locally in your local area.
Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Community and Custodial provision in the Home Office.
1. The National Picture
This section of the report draws attention to the wider context of the operation and
development of the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (the MAPPA).
The most important work undertaken within the MAPPA is done locally, led by the police and probation – who act jointly as the 'Responsible Authority' in your area – and in each of the 42 areas of England and Wales.
The experience and good practice upon which this work is based began in the 1990s – most
significantly as a result of the closer working relationship required by the Sex Offender Act (1997).
The Criminal Justice and Courts Services Act (2000) formalised that relationship and built on the existing experience by requiring the police and probation services to establish arrangements (the MAPPA) for assessing and managing the risks posed by sexual and violent offenders.
The Act also required the Responsible Authority to publish an annual report on the operation of those arrangements.
This report, covering April 2002 to March 2003, is the second annual report.
The importance of partnership;
Key to the development of the MAPPA in the past year has been the closer involvement of other
agencies, such as housing, health and social services, working alongside police and probation.
The truly multi-agency nature of the MAPPA and the collaboration which underpins it is to be strengthened further by the Criminal Justice Bill. The Bill will place a 'duty to co-operate' on a wide range of organisations including Local Health Authorities and Trusts; Housing Authorities and registered social landlords; Social Services Departments; Jobcentres; Youth Offending Teams; and Local Education Authorities.
In addition, the Prison Service will join the police and probation services and become part
of the MAPPA 'Responsible Authority'.
Supporting and co-ordinating the development of the MAPPA throughout the 42 areas of England and Wales, is the National Probation Directorate's Public Protection Unit (PPU).
This Unit acts as a central point for advice and, increasingly, involvement in the management of difficult cases.
These include, for example, UK citizens who have committed serious offences abroad and return to this country without anywhere to live. The Unit is also able to provide financial support when the risk management plans make exceptional demands upon local resources.
Involving the public;
MAPPA developments in the next 18 months will also include the appointment by the Home Secretary of two 'lay advisers' to each Area.
The eight areas of England and Wales which have been piloting these arrangements since January (Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Durham, South Wales, Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey and West Midlands) report that they add real value. Lay advisers will contribute to the review and monitoring of the MAPPA which is undertaken by each Area's Strategic Management Board – the work of which you can read more about in this report.
The purpose of appointing 'lay advisers' is to ensure that communities understand more of what is done to protect them and that those involved professionally with the MAPPA are aware of the views of the Community.
The lay advisers will not 'represent' the community in the way, for example, that local
councillors do, nor will they be involved in operational decision-making. And, given the sensitivity of much of what the MAPPA does, especially with the few offenders who pose a very high risk of serious harm to the public, it is not practicable for the general public to be involved. Lay advisers will, however, ensure an appropriate and a practical level of community involvement.
This year the annual report provides a more detailed breakdown of the number of sexual and violent offenders who are covered by the MAPPA in your area.
As last year, the figures include the number of
registered sex offenders.
Because sex offender registration is for a minimum of 5 years (and generally, for much longer) the figures are cumulative.
This is why they have increased – by 16 per cent in England and Wales. Only a very small proportion (about six per cent throughout England and Wales) are considered to pose such a high risk or management difficulty that they are referred to the highest level of the MAPPA – the Multi-Agency Public Protection Panels (the MAPPP).
Figures alone do not, of course, tell the whole story. The anonymised case studies illustrate the practical work of the MAPPA, and demonstrate the preventive action which can be taken.
Prior to the MAPPA, action of this kind was mainly taken by one agency alone, with the effect that on occasion offenders' behaviour which might have triggered preventive action went unnoticed.
The multi-agency approach of the MAPPA helps ensure that if an offender does breach the condition of the licence under which they were released from prison or a court order prohibiting certain activities, then action to enforce the condition or order and protect the public can be taken more swiftly.
If you are interested in reading the reports of other Areas, they will be published on the
National Probation Service's website -www.probation.homeoffice.gov.uk (under the public protection section) with all of them being available once the last Area has published its annual report in September.
2. Northumbria Area Summary
In response to the Sex Offenders Act 1997,
Northumbria Police and Probation Services
established local arrangements for the
management of the risk posed by dangerous
Risk Management Protocols were devised and both agencies worked tocommon guidelines in the assessment and management of offenders falling within this Category.
These arrangements were given statutory authority through the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 which imposed duties upon the Police and Probation Services to develop and extend this work through Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements.
Police and Probation were afforded the status of "Responsible Authority" and were charged with the duty to ensure that the management of both violent and sexual offenders considered to pose a risk of
serious harm to the public, was discharged through a multi-agency approach which was acknowledged to be the most effective way of protecting the public.
Multi-Agency Public Protection Panels (MAPPPs) were established nationally and in Northumbria four MAPPPs were required in order to ensure that the relevant agencies were represented on the Panels.
The 'Responsible Authority' (Police and Probation) took the lead in managing the panels and ensuring that Risk Management Plans were devised and acted upon in order to reduce any risk posed to the public.
As the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) have developed so has the confidence and commitment of agencies involved in the process. The extent to which this approach can manage risk has been demonstrated through cases involving Social Services, Housing, Youth Offending teams,
Mental Health Services, as well as Police and Probation and proved to be more effective than single agency management.
Inevitably, the multi-agency sharing of information in this way has required the establishment of robust information sharing protocols which take account of civil liberties and human rights, together with the assurance that information is adequately protected and proportionate to the risk involved.
The Risk Management Plans devised to protect the public in regard to offenders who pose a risk of serious harm are dependant upon sound supervision and monitoring arrangements and the imposition of conditions i.e. in post release licences or Court Orders and registration requirements.
These are the "external controls" which enable the Multi-Agency Public Protection Panel to exert influence over the offender's behaviour.
In addition to these "external controls" are the rehabilitative "internal controls" which offenders are encouraged to develop through offender treatment programmes and relapse prevention programmes.
These aim to develop within the offender an acknowledgement of responsibility for their behaviour and to enable them to establish strategies to prevent this behaviour being repeated.
The successful combination of internal and external controls provide the best prognosis for successful risk management and as a consequence, a more effective way of protecting the public.
The multi-agency dimension ensures that all aspects of the above approach to the management of risk by an offender are addressed and progress monitored through a shared acceptance of responsibility for the outcome.
In Northumbria there has been significant involvement by agencies in addition to Police and Probation in the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements and together we look forward to progressing this essential collaborative approach.
Of significance over the last year was the decision by Northumbria Probation Area to realign the responsibilities of the Risk Management Manager.
This has resulted in the creation of two posts, a Programme Manager dedicated to the management of the Nationally Accredited Sex Offender Programme and the appointment of a Public Protection Manager to focus upon the MAPPA and to include child protection, mental health and domestic violence as specific features of the post.
In addition, Northumbria Probation Area during 2003 will second staff to new posts linked to developments in mental health and sex offender work. These developments, which involve significant commitment from partner agencies in the promotion of public protection, will extend the sphere and influence of MAPPA and will ensure that a multi-agency perspective is brought to the risk management of these complex cases.
Northumbria Police, recognising the need to link the operational management of both sex offender and child protection police work, are working towards bringing these responsibilities together under one Detective Chief Inspector.
3. Roles and Responsibilities of Relevant Agencies
Effective public protection relies upon agencies working together to supervise and monitor those offenders who are assessed as posing a high risk of serious harm to the public. The requirement imposed upon the Responsible Authority (Police and Probation) is to:
"Establish arrangements for the purposes of
assessing and managing the risks posed in
that area by…. relevant sexual and violent
offenders and other persons who are
considered by them to be persons who may
cause serious harm to the public"
(Section 67 Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000).
The Responsible Authority therefore requires the co-operation of other relevant agencies to ensure that those assessed as posing a high risk of serious harm to the public are subject to robust and comprehensive risk management plans which reduce the risk and are delivered through multiagency collaborative arrangements.
Relevant agencies involved in MAPPA are:
The Probation Service
The Police Service
The Prison Service
Youth Offending Teams
The Derwent Initiative
3a: The Probation Service
Northumbria Probation Area is one of the 42 Areas which comprise the National Probation Service (NPS) for England and Wales. The NPS was established on 1st April 2001 with five statutory aims.
* The protection of the public
* The reduction of offending
* The proper punishment of offenders
* Ensuring offenders' awareness of the effects
of crime on the victims of crime and the public
* The rehabilitation of offenders
In addition to these, the Home Secretary set out a list of priorities of which the top three are:
* More accurate and effective assessment and
management of risk and dangerousness
* More contact and involvement with the
victims of serious sexual and other violent
* The production and delivery of offender
programmes which have a proven track record
in reducing reoffending.
Northumbria Probation Area fulfils its duty in regard to these aims and priorities by supervising offenders subject to Community Orders or post release licences and preparing detailed reports to assist magistrates and judges in their sentencing decisions. A thorough risk assessment is completed on all offenders and reviewed at regular intervals.
This assessment informs the supervision plan upon which all subsequent work is based and to which the offender will be held to account.
For offenders assessed as posing a serious risk of harm to the public there is also a Risk Management Plan devised which outlines areas of risk and how they will be managed.
The MAPPA consolidate these offender management plans and supply the essential ingredient of a multi-agency response to their supervision and monitoring. In Northumbria, probation has taken on the role of managing the MAPPA with all referrals being processed through senior management and all meetings within the MAPPA framework being chaired by probation managers.
The National Probation Service, together with voluntary organisations, manages Home Office
Approved Premises (formerly probation and bail hostels). These premises provide enhanced supervision of offenders and bailees in order to protect the public and reduce risk.
Within the Northumbria area there are four Approved Premises which can provide the additional level of monitoring and supervision required for offenders who are subject to MAPPA.
Offenders can be instructed to reside in Approved Premises through conditions imposed in community orders and post-release licences.
The Victim Liaison Unit of Northumbria Probation Area is required to contact families where a sexual or violent offence has resulted in an offender being sentenced to imprisonment of 12 months or more.
The Unit also contacts all families where there has been a conviction in respect of murder, manslaughter or causing death by dangerous driving. The purpose of contact is to provide accurate information about the sentence imposed and also to offer an opportunity for the victim's family to express any concerns about release.
The Unit can also keep victims informed about developments relating to the sentence and in due course provide release information.
With their unique knowledge of victim issues, Victim Liaison Officers have a valuable role to play in MAPPA. Their contribution can result in the inclusion of restrictive licence conditions prior to an offender's release from custody or information they provide can inform decision making in regard to the protection of potential future victims.
3b: The Police Service
The Police Service has the task of managing the Sex Offender Register and of responding to concerns about public safety arising out of the identification of sexual, violent and other dangerous offenders.
The prevention and detection of crime is central to the work of the police and through a variety of partnerships the police are actively engaged in communities to prevent crime.
As the Responsible Authority in conjunction with the Probation Service, Northumbria Police has an active involvement in MAPPA both at Force Area and local level. There are dedicated Sex Offender Liaison Officers based in each of the Area Commands.
The sex offender liaison officers work with the Probation Service to assess the risk posed by sex offenders and visit the offenders regularly in order to ensure that they comply with the requirements of the Sex Offenders Register.
Sex Offender Liaison Officers attend multi-agency meetings held in response to offenders living in their particular area and, with their knowledge of the offender and of the local community, they are an important source of information at multiagency meetings.
3c: Social Services Departments
In the Northumbria Area there are six local authorities, each with its own Area Child
Protection Committee and Social Services Department.
Social Services are the lead agency in terms of child protection and also carry responsibility for other vulnerable groups in the community.
Their expertise is vital in terms of assessing risk to children, and their contribution to the
development of risk management plans and the monitoring of such is crucial to the task of
reducing risk to children.
Social Services are represented at both strategic and operational levels in terms of MAPPA and work in partnership with the structures of both ACPC and MAPPA to ensure a multi-agency approach to both child and public protection.
3d: The Prison Service
The Prison Service works together with the Police and Probation Services to ensure that sexual,
violent and other dangerous offenders are identified prior to their release from custody.
All offenders sentenced to 12 months imprisonment or more are allocated to a Probation Case
Manager at the point of sentence.
This Case Manager, together with the prison staff, carries responsibility for monitoring the offender's
progress through the prison sentence and for planning the offender's release into the community.
There is close liaison between prison and probation staff ensuring that information regarding risk and sentence progression is shared on a regular basis. In addition to assessments of risk and sentence planning, prisons run accredited offending behaviour programmes which help reduce those risks before the offender is released.
Offenders falling within the MAPPA will be subject to the prison establishment's own risk management procedures in terms of public protection, but at least three months prior to release, a community based Multi-Agency Meeting will be called under the MAPPA to formulate a risk management plan which could include additional licence conditions, referral to a community-based sex offender programme,
accommodation arrangements, mental health provision etc.
Following release the offender will be subject to the stringent requirements of the National Standards for the supervision of offenders subject to post-release licence, will also have to comply with the conditions within the
post-release licence and will be monitored through the multi-agency Risk Management Plan.
There are two prisons located within the Northumbria Probation area, HMYOI Castington and HMP Acklington.
Other local prisons are HMP Durham, HMP Frankland, HMYOI Deerbolt, HMP Kirk Levington, HMP Low Newton and HMP Holme House. Prison staff are invited to MAPPPs and Risk Management Conferences for prisoners returning to the Northumbria area.
The National Probation Service and voluntary organisations manage Home Office Approved Premises (formerly probation and bail hostels) which provide enhanced supervision of offenders and bailees in order to protect the public and reduce risk.
There are four such Approved Premises within the Northumbria Probation Area which are a key element of this Area's approach to the management of risk.
Offenders subject to community orders or postrelease licence can be required to live in these premises for a specific period. Whilst resident in the Approved Premises offenders are subject to curfew restrictions and a high level of monitoring.
They are allocated a Key Worker who provides an additional level of supervision to that of the Probation Case Manager.
Living in supported and structured accommodation also helps offenders to resettle more effectively into the community. Voluntary or local authority housing providers can offer move on accommodation when deemed appropriate.
In Northumbria there are strong links with all local housing professionals who can advise on the safest local housing options.
Protocols exist with Local Authority Housing Departments, and within Northumbria some have produced proactive strategies for responding to the housing of serious and sexual offenders.
It is essential that housing providers are represented within the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements as their contribution can be critical in ensuring that the accommodation provided assists the rehabilitative and public protection process.
The involvement of professionals from the health services in the MAPPA has been exceptionally valuable as they provide advice on the appropriateness of any kind of health intervention with offenders who present some level of risk to the community.
Health Services can also contribute to the assessment and management of risk. In Northumbria relevant health professionals attend MAPPA meetings when invited.
Northumbria Probation Area also works in partnership with forensic mental health services from St Nicholas' Hospital, Newcastle, in the assessment and treatment of sex offenders.
There are two collaborative projects:
* The Sexual Behaviour Unit provides assessment and treatment for adults who fall outside the statutory duty of probation, but who may still pose a risk in relation to the sexual abuse of children or adults. Staff from both probation and forensic mental health services work jointly in this venture, also
providing consultancy and training in relation to adults who sexually abuse.
* Sex Offender Treatment Programme Plus (SOTP+) is a meeting between health, probation, police and prison staff to which prisoners are referred prior to release if there are concerns about treatment and risk management in the community. This ensures the offender is referred for psychological and psychiatric treatment if appropriate, as well as to the probation service's community-based sex offender treatment programme.
3g: Youth Offending Teams
The Responsible Authority accepts referrals on those aged under eighteen years if the offender is a sexual, violent or otherwise dangerous offender considered to pose a serious risk of harm to the Public.
Cases which are supervised by the Youth Offending Teams in Northumbria can, therefore,
be referred into MAPPA and will be managed by the Responsible Authority in the same way as adult offenders.
3h: The Derwent Initiative
Ten years ago Northumbria Police and Probation Services were instrumental in the creation of The Derwent Initiative (TDI), an independent charity which promotes an inter agency response to sexual offending.
Today that partnership is alive and well, with the Chief Probation Officer and Deputy Chief Constable actively engaged as members of TDI's Advisory Board.
Equally important is the constant involvement of both services at all levels in the development of many of TDIs projects and innovative ways of working.
One of those projects, Leisurewatch, has been set up in three of the six Local Authority areas and is scheduled to begin in the other three in 2003/4.
The scheme cannot operate without significant input from the police who liaise with the leisure sites, produce a protocol for the exchange of information and set up effective reporting systems.
The expertise of Probation Officers, working closely with child protection officers in the delivery of the training on site to every worker, has produced a course which is highly regarded by participants and observers from other areas.
Through this collaborative work, police and probation have helped significantly to produce a blue-print for the extension of Leisurewatch nationally in 2003/04. In another joint venture, probation is seconding an officer to the Sexual Behaviour Unit.
This officer will spend part of his/her time on another TDI project concerned with the provision of specialist assessment and treatment services for learning disabled sex offenders. Working with colleagues in forensic services, the officer will be aiming to fill a serious gap in provision for this over represented, under resourced group of offenders.
The Probation Risk Manager has been involved in the project from its inception and senior managers have ensured that the ideas worked out in lengthy negotiation can be realised.
One of TDIs particular strengths lies in its ability to take an overview of the way in which agencies operate together and to foster new ways of working. Over recent years it has been extending the lessons learned to look for ways to bridge the gaps between the statutory agencies and the wider public in the management of sex offenders.
This involves enlisting the active engagement of that public within its sphere of competence, and thereby offering a role other than vigilantism. Leisurewatch is an example of this thinking in practice, and police and probation are pushing the boundaries of public protection and thereby promoting confidence between the public and the agencies.
4. The Operation of MAPPA
The MAPPA in Northumbria built upon the
existing information sharing protocols already
established in regard to offenders posing a high risk of serious harm to the public.
The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 provided the statutory framework for the extension of this work and within Northumbria the structure of MAPPA was devised as follows:
Level 1: Information Sharing Meetings
These are called to consider levels of risk and, depending upon the risk assessment and information shared, the case will either be referred to an Inter-Agency Risk Management Conference (RMC); or a Multi-Agency Public Protection Panel (MAPPP); or be considered suitable for ordinary risk management whereby the risks posed can be managed by the one agency holding responsibility for the offender.
Offenders referred to these meetings would normally have been assessed as posing a low or medium risk of harm, but the referring agency believes that the sharing of information with other agencies at this juncture will define or confirm the future management of the risks identified.
The vast majority of offenders falling within the category of low to medium risk are supervised and monitored through normal risk management procedures e.g. formal probation supervision and sex offender registration.
Level 2: Local Inter-Agency Risk Management
These are used where the active involvement of more than one agency is required in the management of the identified risk, but where the risk is not so great that a referral to a MAPPP is required. Typically offenders assessed as posing a high risk of serious harm would be referred to these meetings.
The Futurest extensive co-operation exists between agencies to fulfil obligations in regard to the
Level 3: Multi-Agency Public Protection Panel
The MAPPP is responsible for the management of the "critical few" offenders assessed as posing a high or very high risk of causing serious harm and where the risk posed requires management at a senior level through a multi-agency collaboration.
Northumbria Probation Area has taken responsibility for convening and chairing all meetings held under MAPPA. Level 1 and 2 meetings are chaired by probation middle managers whilst Level 3, the MAPPP, is chaired by a Senior Probation Manager. All of the meetings adhere to information sharing protocols and a written record of decisions and the Risk Management Plan are contained within the minutes.
The strategy is regularly reviewed and monitored.
Within Northumbria Police all officers have responsibility for protecting the public from sexual, violent and dangerous offenders and all officers and support staff adhere to the policie and guidance which have developed over recent years.
In addition to this, Northumbria Police has officers dedicated to the role of public protection.
Situated within the Force Intelligence Bureau is the Sex Offenders Unit. This unit is the central point for co-ordinating the Force's response to those offenders who fall within the MAPPA Definition.
In addition to this central co-ordination role, the Sex Offenders Unit also has responsibility for targeting those offenders who are considered to pose the greatest risk of harm to the public.
The day to day risk assessment, monitoring and management of sexual, violent and dangerous offenders is carried out by dedicated officers working in each of the 15 Area Commands.
These officers know where all registered sex offenders in their area live and they visit them in their homes on a regular basis.
Officers from the Sex Offenders Unit and from Area Commands sit on the MAPPPs and Risk
Management Conferences, sharing intelligence with other agencies and formulating action plans to ensure that everything possible is done to reduce the risk of these offenders re-offending.
Northumbria Police currently has 19 offenders who are subject to Sex Offender Orders.
These Orders are aimed at preventing criminal offences and are an important tool for managing sex offenders. Again both the Sex Offenders Unit and Area Command staff are aware of all 19 offenders subject to these Orders and they are robustly policed.
If an offender is found to have breached an order then he is arrested and dealt with by the courts. During the past year, 5 offenders have been arrested for breaching a Sex Offender Order. Punishments have ranged from a £50 fine to 3 years imprisonment.
Disclosure is another important tool used to manage the risk posed by these offenders. Whilst every effort is made to reduce the need to disclose information about an offender there are occasions when this must be done in the interest of public protection.
Disclosure may be to an individual, an organisation or to the wider public.
Each case is considered individually and should disclosure be required then Home Office Guidelines are always adhered to. In addition, the legality and proportionality of disclosure is considered by the Northumbria Police Legal Department in each case.
Assessing the Risk;
Crucial to the identification of offenders referred to MAPPA are the features of the individual case. The type of offence and the resultant sentence assist in the identification of relevant offenders who are covered by the MAPPA. In addition to this, the application of robust risk assessments distinguish which level of MAPPA is the most appropriate for the management of these relevant sexual, violent and other dangerous offenders.
Structured, well researched risk assessment tools are used by both Police and Probation to assess risk in terms of who is at risk and the level of risk posed to those individuals by the offender. The Prison Service and National Probation Service will shortly be using the same risk assessment tool i.e. Offender Assessment System (OASys) which will ensure a consistency of approach and enhance the flow of communication towards greater accuracy in assessment.
Northumbria Probation Area has been using this assessment tool since October 2001. OASys is able to identify dynamic risk factors, which will vary, together with the static, actuarial risk factors, such as those derived from past behaviour.
This assessment tool complements the assessment mechanism used by the Police to identify serious sexual and violent offenders.
Risk assessments in regard to young offenders are completed by the Youth Offending Teams, using an assessment tool called ASSET.
Critical to rigorous risk assessment is the collation and sharing of all information.
This sharing of information takes place within the MAPPA which leads to informed decision making about the management of the risk.
The risk assessment is not a one-off activity and must be regularly reviewed and monitored to ensure that any variation in the offender's risk status is reflected in the Risk Management Plan.
Managing the Risk;
Over the period from 1st April 2002 to 31st March 2003 only 34 offenders have been referred to MAPPPs in Northumbria. These offenders are the "critical few" who are assessed as posing a high or very high risk of causing serious harm to the public and require a Risk Management Multi-Agency Plan devised at senior level. Out of these 34, 10 offenders have been recalled to prison because they have breached their post release licence conditions.
Noncooperation with licence conditions increases the risk posed by these offenders and enforcement action is taken to return the individual to custody.
Out of a total potential MAPPA caseload of 1113 only 117 Risk Management Conferences have needed to be called, in addition to the MAPPPs. The vast majority of offenders have, therefore, been managed through normal agency risk management procedures.
For offenders subject to statutory supervision, which can include community orders or postrelease licence, there are National Standards to which the offender must comply, plus the opportunity to impose restrictive conditions which are all rigorously enforced. A post-release licence may contain a variety of conditions tailored to manage the risk posed by that individual offender.
An example of conditions often applied would be:
Requirement to live at a particular address eg
approved premises, and to observe a curfew
enforced with an electronic tag.
* Prohibition on entering certain localities
* Prohibition on making contact with certain
individuals or groups of people – and
* Restrictions on the type of employment they
Failure to keep any of these conditions will result in the Probation Service taking enforcement action and could result in the offender being returned to custody.
In exceptional circumstances cases can be referred to the National Probation Service's Public Protection Unit which can provide a national perspective and enlist the support of police and probation in other parts of the country. It can also provide additional short-term resources where these are deemed necessary.
In addition to statutory supervision and the imposition of conditions, it may be necessary for the police to take measures such as targeting and/or an application for a Sex Offender Order.
A Sex Offender Order will include a number of prohibitions which, if breached, will result in the
offender appearing before the criminal court and facing a sentence of imprisonment of up to five years or a fine or both.
Sex Offender Orders are civil orders introduced by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 which are applied for by the police and can be imposed for a minimum period of 5 years.
The prohibitions contained in this Order are intended to protect the victim and any other members of the public considered to be at risk.
Restraining Orders are now available to the Crown and Appeal Courts through the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 in respect of sex offenders.
They offer the opportunity to restrain an offender's behaviour in a way similar to a Sex Offender Order by imposing restrictions which, if breached, can result in a sentence of imprisonment.
The purpose of a Restraining Order is to impose, from the point of sentence, restrictions on the offender's behaviour towards the public in general or particular individuals, in cases where this is necessary in order to protect them from the possibility of serious harm from the offender.
A Restraining Order can be attached to any sentence of imprisonment imposed by the Crown Court and the police or probation service can remind the Judge of the advantages of imposing this type of Order.
The Court would need to consider whether the restriction of liberty it would involve would be justified.
The distinctive feature, and added advantage of a Restraining Order, is that the victim is protected (e.g. from harassment) while the offender is in custody and not solely after release.
A Restraining Order can be imposed for a fixed or indefinite duration.
Whilst Northumbria Probation Area rigorously enforces National Standards for the supervision of
offenders and adherence to conditions within post-release licences, these "external controls"are intended to be supported by the development of "internal controls" through the offenders completion of nationally accredited offending behaviour programmes.
These programmes are intended to develop offender responsibility for their own behaviour and to assist the individual in developing strategies which will reduce the risk of them re-offending.
Attendance on these programmes can be imposed as a condition of a community order or a post-release licence and failure to comply will be rigorously enforced.
Northumbria Probation Area runs a Home Office accredited sex offender programme with a proven track record for reducing the risk of re-offending.
There are also two accredited programmes addressing problem solving skills and victim
awareness and another two accredited programmes which focus upon substance misuse and drink impaired driving.
In addition, Northumbria Probation Area runs a nonaccredited programme which addresses the
behaviour of domestic violence perpetrators.
As the suite of programmes develops it is intended that an offender within the high risk groups will have the opportunity to address the complexity of their offending behaviour through attendance on these programmes and thereby internalise strategies which will contribute to the reduction of the risk they pose.
5. The Management of MAPPA
In Northumbria the strategic management of MAPPA has been provided by the Area Criminal Justice Strategy Committee (ACJSC) which is the area's primary criminal justice inter-agency forum.
It's membership has included the following:
Chair: The Recorder of Newcastle
Members: Chief Constable, Northumbria Police
Chief Officer, Northumbria Probation Area
North East Area Manager, for HM Prison Service
Justice's Chief Executive, for Northumbria
Chief Crown Prosecutor, Crown Prosecution Service, Northumbria
Chief Executive of Northumberland
Tyne & Wear Strategic Health Authority
Magistrates' Association Representative
Northumbria Victim Support Co-ordinator
Group Manager for Newcastle Court Service
Director, RECDARE (formerly Tyne and Wear REC)
A Director of Social Services
Regional Crime Reduction Director, Government Office (North East)
Regional Director, Criminal Defence Service
A Head of Youth Offending Services
Member from local ethnic minority community
The ACJSC received and approved the first MAPPA Annual Report 2001 - 2002 and facilitated its launch to the local media.
On 1st April 2003 the ACJSC was replaced by the Local Criminal Justice Board (LCJB).
Representation on the LCJB will remain as before with the exception of the judiciary.
The Chief Constable of Northumbria Police Force has been appointed Chair of the Board.
With the recent further developments in regard to the structure of MAPPA, a separate Strategic Management Board (SMB) will be appointed which will have a significant role in shaping the MAPPA framework within the Northumbria Area.
The SMB will have a monitoring and evaluating role and will support effective operational work with other public protection arrangements, such as Area Child Protection Committees, local Crime and Disorder Partnerships and the Local Criminal Justice Board. Currently, in eight Responsible Authority areas there are arrangements piloting the involvement of lay members on their respective SMBs.
The Criminal Justice Bill will extend these arrangements to all 42 areas of England and Wales by providing the Secretary of State with powers to appoint lay advisors to each Area.
In addition to the strategic arrangements, Northumbria Police and Probation have a Joint Steering Group primarily concerned with liaison and operational management of public protection arrangements.
The group comprises the Detective Chief Inspector from Force Intelligence Bureau and the Detective Sergeant from the Sex Offender Unit of Northumbria Police together with the Director of Operations and the Public Protection Manager of Northumbria Probation Area.
This group feeds back to other appropriate members of staff within both agencies. Probation input is to the Senior Managers Risk Meeting which informs practice throughout the Area.
Within Northumbria Police, information is disseminated to Crime Managers in local Area Commands and to more senior personnel.
6. Victim Work
Northumbria Probation Area established a specialist Victim Liaison Unit in 1995 to respond to a National Standard for probation services to contact the victims of sexual and violent offenders sentenced to imprisonment of four years or more.
Section 69 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 imposed a statutory duty upon the NPS to undertake victim contact work with the victims of sexual and violent offenders sentenced to 12 months or more in custody, thereby substantially increasing the provision for victims.
Northumbria Probation Area offers a comprehensive service to individuals or families who have been affected by this type of crime.
The Victim Liaison Unit is run by probation staff and a victim support co-ordinator. *
The probation worker's role is two-fold; providing the victim with information about the custodial process and obtaining information regarding any concerns they have about the offender's release.
With consent, the victim's concerns are included in a report submitted to the prison and parole board for consultation when the offender is being considered for release. This can have a direct impact on the offender's living arrangements back in the community and can influence the postrelease licence conditions.
Where a victim indicates that they would welcome ongoing contact, Victim Liaison staff will keep in touch during the whole of the offender's sentence.
The aim is to keep victims informed of developments, to meet any general support needs or, if necessary, to refer them on to specialist agencies for more in-depth counselling or support.
Northumbria Probation Area has a formal partnership arrangement with Victim Support who receive referrals in respect of the partners of men who undertake the Domestic Violence Group for perpetrators.
Northumbria Police also have specialised units which focus upon domestic violence both in terms of responding to the perpetrators of violent behaviour and in offering support to women and families as victims in these cases.
The Victim Liaison Officers (VLO) are now well integrated into the MAPPA and attend all relevant meetings. There is good ongoing liaison between the Police, Probation staff, Prison staff and Victim Liaison Officers and appropriate licence conditions such as no contact or specified exclusion zones are often included at the victim's request.
Through the MAPPA, the Victim Liaison Officer can work with the police in establishing safety plans e.g. alarms and security devices for the victim which will improve their security in addition to the restrictions which may be included in the offender's licence.
The police also offer support to the victims of sexual, violent and other offenders from the point when an offence is reported until the end of the court process.
The representation of victim issues by the Victim Liaison Officer within MAPPA ensures that the victim perspective is given a high priority and that the opportunity for re-victimisation is substantially reduced.
The specialist knowledge provided by the Victim Liaison Officer can also be used to
inform the process of protecting potential future victims by their unique contribution to the assessment and management of future risk posed by the offender.
This is likely to be particularly relevant in cases where the offender has been involved in an abusive relationship within the family or in other forms of domestic violence.
* Victim Support is the national charity for people affected by crime. It is an independent organisation, offering a free and confidential service, whether or not a crime has been reported.
Trained staff and volunteers at local branches offer information and support to victims, witnesses, their families and friends.
Victim Support provides a witness service based in every criminal court in England and Wales to offer assistance before, during and after trial.
You can call the Victim Support line 0845 303
0900 for information and details of local services and other Organisations.
7. Contact Details
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel: 01661 872555
Northumbria Probation Area
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel: 0191 281 5721
Northumbria Probation Area
Victim Liaison Unit
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel: 0191 261 2541