Police are hoping a new approach of working with offenders will help reduce re-offending and particularly the number of people coming out of prison who re-offend.
The new approach has been launched this month which will mean people posing a threat of re-offending or who were sentenced to less than 12 months in prison for a variety of crimes will work with special diversion officers.
The hope is that the offenders whose crimes cause the most harm are managed in a coordinated manner in the community or following release from prison.
They will work with various agencies building on the County Integrated Offender Management approach to address the reasons behind their behaviour.
The police together with Probation as well as private and third sector agencies will provide a coordinated system of mentoring, training, education and other forms of support to help them break the cycle of crime.
Chief Inspector Mark Evans, who has spearheaded this approach, said: “Offenders who are sentenced to more than 12 months in prison are often released with conditions to engage with Probation and police officers in order to assist their rehabilitation.
“This is known in our county as the Rose Programme.
“However, what we find is that those who receive less than 12 months are not statutorily obliged to engage with the authorities.
“Yet this category of offenders often cause the most harm locally and are also more likely to reoffend once released.
“What’s new with this approach is that those who are released from prison and fit into the category of less than 12 months in prison will now be assessed against a number of pathways involving drugs and alcohol support, accommodation support, education, training and employment support, alcohol and drugs intervention, health support, finance and debt assistance, guidance with children and families as well as attitude and behaviour management.
“We are also working with local support agencies like Groundworks to provide street mentors to help people get back into main stream society.
“In addition, we will continue to use the highly effective Buddi tracker system, which allows us to electronically monitor and manage offenders.
“This can allow us to potentially eliminate people as suspects as well as allowing officers to conduct curfew checks remotely.
“Anyone of concern who fails to participate in the programme or does reoffend will then be subject to the enforcement arm of policing who will work side by side with this new team.
“We want to make sure that people are given the appropriate chances to integrate back into the community while reducing the risks of reoffending and improving community safety.
“As well as the anguish of victimisation, offending costs society a huge amount of money with everything from insurance or personal loss to court and prison costs. It is hoped that the investment in diverting people away from criminality with this joint partnership programme will prove to be a much more cost effective use of public funds.”