County has lowest re-offending rates

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Northamptonshire has the lowest re-offending rate in the country thanks to probation officers, drug and alcohol treatment programmes and the police working together.

Only 7.42 per cent of criminals re-offended in the year up to last October – less than half the rate of some other probation trust areas.

John Budd, interim chief executive of Northamptonshire Probation Trust (NPT), said: “If there are fewer offenders re-offending, there are fewer victims.

“The more effective we are, the fewer victims there are in Northamptonshire.”

Over the same period, Northumbria Probation Trust’s re-offending rate was 14.97 per cent, York and North Yorkshire’s was 11.55 per cent and Nottinghamshire’s was 11.09 per cent.

NPT was one of 11 trusts to achieve a lower rate than predicted. A rate of 8.01 per cent was predicted.

Mr Budd, who recently joined NPT as interim boss from another trust, put the success down to partner agencies, including the police and voluntary organisations working well together.

He said: “What I think works really well in Northamptonshire is there are very good partnership arrangements.

“Probation and police work well together. Probation and the voluntary sector work well together.”

Probation officers assess the risk offenders pose to the public, specific people and to themselves. They work to address the risks by looking at their sources, such as drink or drug problems.

The probation service and voluntary organisations work with offenders, often in groups, for example by teaching sex offenders or people convicted of domestic violence strategies to control their temper or urges.

If an offender breaches a court order, probation officers return them to court.

When offenders who pose a serious risk to the public are released, the police, prison service and probation service work together to manage the risk.

Mr Budd said: “Almost everyone will come out at some point. Only about 25 to 30 offenders in the entire country will never come out.”

The trust had to deal with 8,274 cases over the 12 months.

Kettering MP Philip Hollobone, who has invited Police Minister Nick Herbert to visit community payback programmes in Kettering, welcomed the news, saying the county has a ‘winning formula’ and other areas should follow its example.

Mr Hollbone said: “I’m sure everyone locally would welcome low re-offending rates because that’s what crime and punishment is all about. It’s about stopping people re-offending.

“If there is a demonstrable success locally then everyone would applaud it.

“We have a winning formula thanks to the hard work of all those involved. It sounds to me that other parts of the country should learn lessons from north Northamptonshire.”

Det Chief Insp Nick Purdie said: “We work very closely in partnership with Northamptonshire Probation Trust on our Integrated Offender Management programme. We are offering different options to offenders to divert them from crime at an early stage.

“The earlier we work with them gives them an opportunity to reduce crime. It’s a very successful tactic.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Overall re-offending is falling but the levels are still too high and we are determined to break the cycle and address the root causes of this behaviour.

“That is why we are making our jails places of hard work, getting criminals off drugs and alcohol, toughening community sentences and making offenders pay back to victims and communities.”