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Scheme to reduce reoffending in Cambridgeshire marks one year anniversary

A scheme that supports people at risk from reoffending is marking its first year today (7 September).

The new approach introduced initially in Peterborough by Cambridgeshire Constabulary, in partnership with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, tackles the root causes of early offending behaviour by offering conditional cautions. The conditional cautions can then help steer individuals away from criminal behaviour.

Over 350 conditional cautions have now been issued since the programme was launched.

Over the year, the Constabulary has identified suitable individuals and then worked with various partner agencies including HMP Peterborough and Outside Links to help them rebuild their lives. Suitable conditions are chosen to help address the underlying issues.

The support programme was rolled out county-wide earlier this year.

Conditional cautions are agreed on an individual basis by a multi-agency assessment. Examples of the kind of issues where support has been made available for individuals are: housing issues, anger management, drugs or alcohol misuse, mental health, employment, education and training and support for debt management.

Kate is one of the individuals whose life is now back on track thanks to support from the programme.

Kate received a conditional caution after committing an offence. When Kate first came into contact with Outside Links, it was clear she needed support. She had a drink problem and was homeless. After several conversations it became clear that Kate’s behaviour was influenced by a number of domestic issues both historically and currently. After several meetings, Outside Links were able to put a programme in place, introducing her to new people and helping her with her alcohol problem, with weekly counselling to help her rebuild her life.

Detective Superintendent Laura Koscikiewicz said:

“It is heartening to see that support offered by the Offender Hub is helping individuals away from criminal behaviour, allowing them to learn from their mistakes rather than being adversely affected for the rest of their lives by a criminal record.”

 Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite said:

 “We need to put a foot in the so-called ‘revolving door’ of reoffending. By intervening early with targeted support we can divert individuals away from criminal behaviour. Whether it’s a housing, employment or debt issue, the right support at the right time can make a very big difference to someone’s future and prevent future victims of crime, with all the cost savings that brings too.”Damian Evans, HMP Peterborough Director, said:

“At Sodexo Justice we are committed to working with our stakeholders to reduce re-offending by promoting and facilitating innovative initiatives such as conditional cautions.

“We are encouraged by the potential of the scheme to offer targeted interventions which address offenders’ needs and help to divert them from the cycle of repeated offending and imprisonment. We are pleased to be working with the Police and Crime Commissioner and are fully committed to working with local partners to prevent further crime in the community.”