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Police Commissioner’s bid to end revolving door for offenders

BUSINESSES from across Cambridgeshire spent the day in HMP Peterborough today to explore the barriers and benefits of employing ex-offenders.

Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Sir Graham Bright hosted Releasing Potential: from Conviction to Career, with Cambridgeshire County Council, the BeNCH Community Rehabilitation Company and HMP Peterborough.

The event brought together employers and local agencies to explore how employment schemes could be further developed in Cambridgeshire. Employers were given an opportunity to hear from Timpson, a leading employer of ex-offenders about their ground breaking scheme.

Delegates also heard from Councillor Ed Cearns from Cambridgeshire County Council who highlighted the benefits of employing ex-offenders for individuals, the community and for public services.

Sir Graham explains:

“Far too many prisoners reoffend having been released. I often talk about the Elvis Presley song “In the Ghetto” which encapsulates this. There is a ripple effect. Taking one person out of this cycle, takes their family out and a whole new generation. We know that employment issues need to be addressed in order to reduce re-offending and that policing, probation, and other organisations involved in the criminal justice system cannot do this alone.

“I was delighted to see such positive energy from people in the room today. From large businesses already involved to small businesses interested in finding out more, today’s event demonstrates a real appetite to make schemes such as those developed by Argos and Timpson a reality in Cambridgeshire.”

Nick Leader, Governor of HMP Peterborough, added: “At Sodexo Justice Services, we are encouraged by the potential of the employment programmes and partnerships we’ve seen today and are fully committed to working with local partners to promote them at HMP Peterborough.”

Councillor Cearns said:

“Today some of the country’s major businesses have demonstrated that by seeing offenders and ex-offenders as part of the solution, rather than just part of the problem, we can build a strong economy, reduce reoffending and so create a safer and more connected society.”

Any businesses wishing to find out more about today’s event should contact the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire.