Avon and Somerset

Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements Annual Report 2003-4

Foreword
Since its inception in 2000, the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) process has continued to go from strength to strength delivering its fundamental objective – safeguarding the public from the threat posed by sexual and violent offenders in Avon and Somerset while focusing on the needs of the victim. Thanks to the close co-operation of the many agencies that form MAPPA in this force area, the vast majority of public citizens are largely unaware of the often complex and difficult risk management of offenders that is being carried out every day. It is a testament to the skills of the many individuals involved in the MAPPA process that ordinary people have little or no idea of the strict protective measures in place and that they can go about their business safe in the knowledge that experts are working tirelessly to ensure the potential threat from such offenders is minimised. The importance of partnership in the ongoing success of MAPPA cannot be overstated. Under the direction of the police and probation service a whole host of key agencies are now signatories to the MAPPA process, each one bringing its own expertise that is vital in drawing up the most effective risk management procedures for the offenders. As from April this year, the Prison Service has become a key player, jointly charged with police and probation in managing arrangements for offenders. This change is vital as many of the offenders we are dealing with will be coming through the prison system. To maximise our chances of success, the risk management must start in prison, not on release. In the past, whenever an investigation has pinpointed that serious offences could have been prevented what emerges is that the communication and co-operation with key agencies has been in some way deficient. What MAPPA has meant is that we are no longer deficient, but very efficient in the way we support each other in tackling the risk posed by offenders while maintaining the true focus of this process- the victims and their needs. We must not forget that this work is both victim focused and offender driven. The multi agency arrangements are designed in a way that the safety of victims or potential victims is paramount. None of us involved in this process would be foolish enough to suggest we can eliminate risk entirely, but what we have now is a picture of who is around in our community and lots of information about them, information that didn’t exist previously and perhaps more importantly wasn’t shared.

Clearly there are areas of our work where some improvement is needed. We are looking forward to forging closer links with mental health providers because of the increasingly important role they play in risk management. Keeping the public informed is something we want to make a priority too. Assuring the ordinary person in the street that the vast majority of sex offences are carried out against victims already known by the offender and not by an opportunist. Looking to the future, we would like to think that if any serious incidents did occur during the MAPPA process, we could demonstrate that we had done everything within our power to prevent it happening and that it was not down to poor practice. We want everyone in Avon and Somerset to feel that the safety arrangements we have got in place are sound and have the best interests of them and their families at heart. We can assure them though - we are not soft on offenders, but we also want offenders to know they will be dealt with fairly in accordance with the legislation currently in place. The single best thing that MAPPA has brought to this difficult process of managing offenders is the transformation in the working relationships and the respect between probation and the police. It is simply phenomenal. The era of non co-operation has long gone. Today we share information – and a common goal, which for the people of Avon and Somerset can only be a good thing.

Steve Mortimore Assistant Chief Constable Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Jill Cotgrove Assistant Chief Officer Avon and Somerset Probation Service

Joint chair of the Multi Agency Public Protection Panel Strategic Management Board

Mapping out a new future
As members of the MAPPA process look to build on past successes and examine ways of improving the system, there is one area in this, the third annual report, where certain figures need to be highlighted. Statistics published later in the report apparently reflect a stark rise in the number of violent and other sexual offenders that have come under the control of MAPPA. But these figures need to be put in context. This year for the first time, the Home Office has changed the way the statistics for sexual and violent offenders are presented. The changes govern what MAPPA class as the category two offenders, largely those sentenced to prison for 12 months or more for an offence of violence or a sexual offence that doesn’t require registration as a sex offender. For example an offender could get 12 months for the sexual assault of an adult female and, although considered to be a violent or other sexual offender, does not need to be registered as a sex offender. Such offenders were not included in last year’s statistics. Only the so called ‘critical few’ - those managed at the highest level because they posed the most risk to the public featured in the statistics. In last year’s report they numbered just five. This year the figures show all the offenders in Avon and Somerset who are on licence to the probation service and were sentenced to 12 months or more for a violent or other sexual offence, which increases the figure to 347. But this does not mean that 347 offenders are being managed at the highest level. Those ‘critical few’ of the most potentially dangerous offenders now total seven, an increase of just two. . But Mair Wise, MAPPA co-ordinator for Avon and Somerset police explained that although the inclusion of the category two offenders has meant a dramatic change in the figures, they are not all the subject of the highest level of risk management. “The vast majority of those category two offenders are managed at the lowest possible level. They are not considered high risk. They are either low or medium risk and are managed by probation staff in the normal way,” said Mair. “The reason for the changes is that the Home Office wants to give the public greater clarity, so they can see the numbers of people who committed a violent offence that warrants a sentence of 12 months or more rather than just the ‘critical few’.” Partners Against Crime The fundamental key to the success of MAPPA is the partnership of the relevant agencies, which have signed up to the MAPPA protocol.

Alongside Avon and Somerset police and the probation service are a string of agencies that serve on the Strategic Management Board, who drive the MAPPA process. MAPPA co-ordinator Mair Wise says the partnership process is vital in risk management of an offender. “The purpose of partnership is to bring together all those agencies that can contribute to the management of somebody’s risk, in however small a way and avoid the situation where you get one agency dealing in isolation with an offender and having no real awareness of what kind of issues are going on in other areas,” said Mair. The eight districts in the Avon and Somerset force area each have a Multi Agency Risk Conference (MARC) every month. The standing members of those meeting are the probation and police and then other agencies are called in as and when they are needed, depending on the nature of the case. Housing protocol In terms of partnership, one of the biggest changes in the MAPPA process in the last 12 months in the Avon and Somerset area has been the introduction of a Housing Protocol. The protocol has formalised the existing, excellent relationship between Housing Authorities and the police and probation service. It has meant that those high-risk MAPPA offenders eligible for public and voluntary sector housing are placed in the type of accommodation that maximises public safety. It also means that Housing Providers can now make a very positive contribution to the management of offenders through the MARC process. This involves linking into the work police and the probation service are doing to manage an offender’s potential risk to the public. Mair Wise says: “If in the past a particular offender has targeted young people, then the housing provider can try and ensure they are accommodated as far away from youth clubs and schools as possible and also placing them away from where previous victims might live. “Essentially, what this protocol has also done is to ensure that no one agency, such as the housing authorities are left trying to manage offenders without the support of all the other agencies. As a result the public and any previous victims are protected.” Getting the type of accommodation right for an offender is essential to proper risk management. Agencies involved in the MAPPA process need to know where an offender is living to provide the right level of monitoring. “If people don’t have a suitable address then they may pose a threat to potential victims and, in the worst cases, they have no identifiable address which means they cannot be properly monitored and managed. The Housing Protocol is a major step forward in ensuring this doesn’t happen,” said Mair.

Housing providers will contribute to the risk assessment process with specialist knowledge including:

• The availability of accommodation • Support and options • Local knowledge of particular areas and types of accommodation • Housing rights • Advice on anti-social behaviour and rent arrears policies • Advice on exclusions
The staff who were instrumental in establishing the protocol were Carol Price, Accommodation Officer with the Probation Service and Chris Knight, head of operations for South Gloucestershire Council’s housing department. Mair Wise says the importance of such protocols and the overall multi agency approach to risk management of offenders cannot be overstated. “You get a complete picture of someone when you have a multi agency approach,” said Mair. “There are lots of different perspectives coming in and we are able to pass on that information. The type of information say, a housing officer will pick up, is different to what a probation officer would pick up in an interview with an offender.” Getting victims on board for a key role Another new development in the Avon and Somerset area in the last 12 months is the introduction to the management board of MAPPA of a representative for the victims of crime. As the whole of the MAPPA system is victim focused, it became clear to those at the sharp end of the process that it was vital to have a victim perspective brought into the Strategic Management Board (SMB). Ian Deane, chief executive of Victim Support Avonvale has now joined the board to bring a much clearer picture of a victim’s needs in each case of risk management. “Once again it is about having different perspectives. There wasn’t any direct representation for victims on the board and now there is,” said Mair. “He will be able to make sure that we are constantly reminded about the place victims have in this process. Ian will be the eyes and ears of the victim ensuring that victims’ issues are raised at board level. To ensure public accountability of MAPPA, the Home Office is also seeking to appoint lay advisors to the SMB and are currently in the process of advertising the posts. The lay advisors, who will be appointed on a voluntary basis, will not take part in operational decisions, but will be involved in the management of the MAPPA administrative process. Two advisors will join the board initially after a thorough selection and training process and should be in place by the summer of next year.

A co-ordinated approach to violent and sexual offenders
The protection of the public from violent and sexual offenders has been a top priority of both the police and probation service for many years. But in 2000, sections 67 and 68 of the Criminal Justice and Court Service Act paved the way for a new co-ordinated approach to the management of such offenders in the community - and the MAPPA process was born. MAPPA is now covered by Section 325327 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. For the first time the work of both police and probation officers in this field was put on a statutory footing. A multi agency approach to offender management was established, combining the skills of relevant agencies to first assess and then manage the risks posed by certain offenders in the community. Under the MAPPA legislation a series of measures can be drawn up to protect people against the potential dangers certain offenders pose, such as increased monitoring, surveillance and the use of supervised accommodation. Information relating to a certain offender can be divulged to communities, schools or employers to ensure the risks that offenders may pose are minimised, which in turn, promotes public reassurance. MAPPA works on a clear categorisation process: Category One: Registered Sex Offenders. Category Two: Violent or other sex offenders on licence to the probation service. Category Three: Anyone who has had a conviction for an offence, whose behaviour suggests they are still dangerous. Sexual offenders are deemed as those people registered with police under the Sex Offenders Act 1997 or someone given a sentence related a sexual offence for 12 months or more since April 2001. Violent offenders are those who have committed certain violent offences and have been given a sentence of 12 months or more. The MAPPA process also has a series of levels under which all the above offenders are managed, depending upon their level of risk. Level One: An offender who poses a low to medium risk. Level Two: Offenders that pose a high risk. Level Three: The so called ‘critical few’ of the most potentially dangerous offenders. It is the task of those agencies serving on the MAPPA panels to draw up a rigorous risk assessment and subsequent risk management plan to ensure the potential danger an offender poses is minimised. Two validated risk assessment tools are used to gauge an offender’s potential for reoffending. The Probation Service use the OASys System which is described as ‘dynamic’, in other words factors that are variable in an offender’s life including relationships and change in circumstances are taken into account. Police use a Risk Matrix 2000 assessment method devised by Home Office psychologist Dr David Thornton. It is described as a ‘static’ assessment tool which means it is based on factors that cannot change in an offenders life, eg the number of past offences and how old the individual was when they offended. Points are awarded for different categories including whether the offence was against males or females or it was committed against a stranger or someone known to the offender. However many points an offender gets raises them to a certain level of risk and will decide where they will fit in to the MAPPA operational structure for risk management, which is explained elsewhere in this report. It is vitally important to remember that the majority of people who commit a criminal offence may never come into contact with the MAPPA process.

Multi-Agency Public Protection Structure
Operations
This is level one of the MAPPA process for low to medium risk offenders. It effectively means that one agency is looking after an offender that falls within this category e.g. a sexual offender who is deemed to be at a low risk of re-offending. Offenders within this level are risk managed by either the police or probation rather than at a multi agency level.

Multi-Agency Risk Conferences
Level two of the MAPPA structure. Offenders OASys risk assessed by the probation service as high, following their release from prison after serving a sentence of 12 months or more will come into the Multi-Agency Risk Conferences (MARC) structure. Also if the police, who are responsible for registered sex offenders, have a particular offender who scores high or very high under the Thornton’s method, he too will come into the MARC system. This is because the offender has been deemed as needing, not only the police and probation input on future risk management, but other agencies such as housing, mental health and social services.

Multi-Agency Public Protection Panel
The highest level where offenders are known as the ‘critical few’. Offenders are risk assessed as very high because they meet five very specific criteria that take them out of the MARC process.

• Imminence of serious harm. Where there is an

immediate physical and psychological risk to a victim by an offender.

• Media implications. An offender whose criminal status is
likely to attract widespread media interest. Where an offender is at such high risk of offending, he/she has to be monitored on a daily basis by a care team who are not specifically part of the MAPPA process, but are members of a private care firm, highly skilled in this kind of risk management. NB: Just five people were at this level in Avon & Somerset last year.

• May require unusual resource allocation. For example, • Need to involve other agencies not usually involved.
an offender who is so dangerous he/she may require additional staff at a probation hostel to handle him/her or police surveillance.

• Serious community concerns. If the offender’s criminal
status is likely to result in public order issues.

Strategic Management Arrangements
The strategic management board, which governs the whole MAPPA process. Senior managers sitting at this level come from a whole host of agencies and draw up policy decisions for the whole MAPPA process and monitor staff performance.

Who does what in the MAPPA process?
Avon and Somerset Constabulary Along with the probation service, it is the Avon and Somerset constabulary, which drives the MAPPA process and one of the most significant developments since the inception of MAPPA has been the formation of a Dangerous Offenders Unit. When MAPPA was set up in 2000, for the following year just one police officer was attached to the probation service to start the MAPPA process. Two years later Detective Sergeant Maurice Flay was appointed to set up the team. Now the unit comprises five detective constables, based throughout the force are: Three DCs are based in Central Bristol, also covering the South Gloucestershire, Bath while two further officers based at Wells also cover Weston-superMare, Taunton, and Yeovil. Under the direction of DS Flay, staff with the Dangerous Offenders Unit work closely with police Child Protection Officers throughout the force area and with probation officers sharing information and intelligence. A member of the Prison Service is also to be added to the team to enable vital information to be shared, prior to an offender’s release. Their combined task is to effectively risk manage the dangerous offenders in the community and more recently they have teamed up with mental health workers as part of the management plan to ease such offenders safely back into the community. Backing up the unit at police headquarters in Portishead is a Dangerous Offenders Registration officer who is responsible for the registration of offenders when they are released from prison. He was formerly known as the Sex Offenders Registration Officer, but both violent and sexual offenders have now been brought under his remit. He is assisted by three support staff to handle administration and paperwork. “The Dangerous Offenders Unit has really grown over the last year and will continue to do so in the future,” said DS Flay. “The unit has an investigative arm of one Det Sgt, four Det Constables, two intelligence officers and administrative support. “Initially established to combat child abusive images on the internet, it has been decided to extend this remit to support the Dangerous Offenders Unit and MAPPA process in reactive and pro-active investigations into the activities of the most dangerous offenders, including paedophiles. “From one police constable we now have a dedicated team working together with the probation service to ensure the highest possible protection for the public.” The Probation Service The aims of the probation service are to reduce re-offending and to protect victims and potential victims. It does this through assessment, supervision and control of offenders and through its direct contact with victims. Its assessments contribute to decisions about sentencing and release from prison and influence the level of control placed on offenders and the type of intervention which is made available to enable them to break the pattern of offending.

The probation service runs hostels where offenders can be kept under close scrutiny and where those offenders who want it can take advantage of support towards a crime-free life. It provides individual supervision and it provides group work programmes which research suggests to have successful outcomes. The probation service takes seriously its authority to return to court or prison any offender who does not co-operate with the terms of their supervision or licence. Contact with victims enables victims to take steps to protect themselves and be supported and also allows the controls placed on an offender to be specific to the circumstances of each situation. The Prison Service Protecting the public by ensuring those committed by the courts are kept in custody. It is the Prison Service’s duty to ensure all inmates are looked after with humanity to help them adapt to law abiding and useful lives upon their release back into the community. It is also the aim of the prison service to work closely with inmates, fostering skills that will prove invaluable on release. These include addressing offending behaviour and improving educational and work skills through practical sessions. In the coming year the Prison Service will also play an increasing role in the risk assessment of offenders to ensure protective measures begin to be put in place well before release. Social Services The protection of children and vulnerable adults is a statutory duty of the social services and in Avon and Somerset they are organised into five authorities. Social services

staff play one of the biggest roles in the multi-agency assessment of certain offenders. At the MARC level of risk assessment/ management, staff provide thorough written and verbal reports and work closely with all relevant agencies in supervision plans of offenders. Housing Local Authorities and Registered Social Landlords (Housing Associations) provide large numbers of rented properties in the area and manage the tenancies involved. Their role within the MAPPA is to help in delivering the fundamental aim of public protection by providing the type of accommodation most suitable to an offender, depending on the seriousness of the crime. It is a key role of the housing provider to know the location and availability of its accommodation stock, ensuring that, for example, a sex offender is not placed near to potential victims. One of the new developments in Avon and Somerset has been a protocol on housing dangerous offenders in the force area. The protocol is an agreement between the nine district and unitary councils in the area and the MAPPP. It has now been finalised and is in the process of being formally adopted by each Council. It will enable dangerous offenders who would otherwise be homeless to be suitably accommodated wherever is appropriate in the area. The protocol will ensure that the Multi Agency Risk Assessment Committees (MARCs) are able to put housing provision as a key element of its effective risk management plans of offenders.

Housing providers will use their knowledge of accommodation to ensure offenders are placed in the most suitable housing and such arrangements have already been valuable in several cases. Once the protocol is formally adopted, training will take place for housing staff to help them understand the important role they play in public protection where there is a housing dimension to the case. In Avon and Somerset, there are 118 social housing providers managing in the region of 100,000 properties. Mental Health The Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Trust Partnership (AWP) and Somerset Partnership Trust provide statutory mental health services across the Avon and Somerset force region and beyond and are committed to playing their part in the MAPPA process. Providing a wide spectrum of services, the AWP works alongside GPs, offering advice and support to them and their staff in dealing with those people with a mental health problem. Those people in the community requiring support are given it by the AWP in partnership with social services and it also offers in-patient units for those who require a period of hospital care. Alongside these inpatient units, AWP also operates a range of specialised units. Among these units is the Fromeside Unit at Blackberry Hill Hospital in Bristol, a medium secure unit that can take people from within Wiltshire and Gloucestershire as well as Avon and Somerset. This unit caters for those with a mental illness, some of whom will have offended.

As part of the MAPPA process, members of the AWP will attend the MARCs. Although the number of cases considered by the MARCs requiring AWP input will be comparatively small, where its help is needed staff will provide a careful assessment of the risks presented by individuals to themselves, their carers and the general public. AWP will also provide information to other agencies at the MARC level, where it is deemed necessary. Youth Offending Teams Multi-agency Youth Offending Teams have a statutory responsibility to prevent offending amongst 1017 year olds. They provide a full range of services to young people who have offended, and also seek to engage and support their parents in this work. They also offer direct services to victims of youth crime, using a restorative justice approach wherever possible, and so are particularly aware of public protection issues in their work.   All Youth Offending Teams use ASSET, a validated assessment tool, to identify young people’s needs and rate their likelihood of further offending.  Where there are particular concerns, a full risk of serious harm assessment is undertaken. Youth Offending Teams have established systems for sharing information, and have skilled, specialist staff who can manage risk effectively, whilst also addressing the vulnerability of the young people themselves.  However, with the minority of young people who present a high risk, managers will take a decision to refer to a Multi-Agency Risk Conference.   The five Youth Offending Teams in Avon and Somerset are committed to working in partnership with all other agencies involved in the MAPPA process.

Offenders: Risk management – MAPPA style
Introduction In dealing with the violent offenders that come under the MAPPA process, gone are the days when leading agencies involved in rehabilitation would fail to pull together. Legislation has meant that the multiagency process will result in a much better chance of successful risk management of offenders, however serious a threat they pose. The MAPPA process deals with those offenders who have committed violence, those convicted of a sex offence or those who pose a very high risk of causing harm. These offenders are either supervised on Community Rehabilitation Orders, Automatic Conditional Release Licences or Discretionary Conditional Release Licences. These licences include various conditions placed on an offender following their release such as attending group sessions to address their offending behaviour. Since the introduction of MAPPA, Action Plans for Release drawn up for every offender are able to involve more agencies. Liz Hodge, senior probation officer said: “What we have now is better risk management than we did before because we are able to call on say, psychiatric and psychological reports and police input rather than it just being down to the Probation Service to manage the risk. “Post MAPPA we can call upon and have more members of multi agencies involved in managing the risk of that person in the community and so therefore we can protect the public more effectively than we could before.” At MARC level, the probation or police officer will put forward a very comprehensive Action Plan for the management of a particular offender, which is ratified by the members of the MARC on a group decision basis. Once an Action Plan has been drawn up, it is reviewed regularly depending on the nature of the case. From the police perspective, the MAPPA process has brought many added benefits to the management of offenders that pose a real risk to the public.

Detective sergeant Maurice Flay of the Avon and Somerset force said: “What can happen now is that in some cases registered sex offenders will come out of prison on licence via the Probation Service and come with a probation officer attached to that case with an Action Plan already in place. “After a period of time they will come off licence and the police will become the lead agency so there is basically a period of handover when we are looking at those offenders from a multi-agency perspective as opposed to just us dealing with them.” The following offender case studies are based on real cases that occurred within the Avon and Somerset Constabulary area.

Case Study One: Convicted of manslaughter against a child
This is an update to case study two from last year’s annual report and highlights the difficult and complex nature of managing a high risk offender released without restrictions. It focuses on an offender convicted for the manslaughter of a young girl. The manslaughter charge was due to guidance from psychiatric reports. The victim had interrupted the offender as he was performing a sexual act and was beaten to death. The offender concealed the body and then even joined the police search for the little girl until she was finally found some days later. Convicted of manslaughter, the offender was made the subject of a hospital order under the Mental Health Act and spent the next 30 years in a range of secure mental institutions around the country. Under the terms of the act, there is an annual right of review to a hospital order and in 2002, the offender went before a medical health tribunal. At this stage it was decided he was no longer mentally impaired, even though the psychiatrist at the tribunal rediagnosed him as a psychopath. The tribunal was not satisfied that the psychiatrist had made his case and the offender was released with an absolute discharge with no conditions attached. The offender came to live in the force area, but neighbours found out some details of his criminal past and he was moved to a place of safety for a couple of days. For the next few months, he was moved around between secure psychiatric hospitals in the area. As no conditions had been placed on the offender’s release he was only complying with the risk management plan voluntarily. At any stage, even now, the offender could stop cooperating. He had been assessed on the Risk Matrix 2000 as being of considerable risk to women and children. Only recently he was re-assessed by a psychiatrist as still being of a high risk to causing harm of a sexual nature to young female children. Managed under both the MARC system and the level three MAPPP system, the man currently lives in suitable accommodation and has a team of helpers from a private agency who are with him on a daily basis helping to integrate him back into the community. He is also being visited regularly by police from the Dangerous Offenders Unit and is subject to a daily monitoring routine.

Case Study Two: The violent offender
This concerns a teenage offender with a personality disorder exhibiting psychopathic traits who also had to be managed at the highest possible level. The teenager set fire to his accommodation and then returned to the scene to watch crews tackling the blaze. He was subsequently sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for the blaze and is assessed as a very high risk of causing harm under the OASys system and high under the Thornton’s Risk Matrix. The offender already had five previous convictions for other offences including criminal damage, public order crimes and had been sentenced to 12 months in detention for actual bodily harm when he hit a female member of staff at a residential unit over the head with a bottle and had planned to stab her in the eyes. Although the psychiatric reports had highlighted the psychopathic traits he was not considered amenable to treatment, yet his violent behaviour was recognised as escalating. As well as substance misuse in the form of amphetamines, ecstasy, butane gas, glue and alcohol, he also had made consistent threats to kill social workers and mental health professionals. In the run up to his release, it was decided he could not return to his original accommodation, but other ranges of accommodation also proved difficult. He could not be placed in a probation hostel because his violent behaviour would put other residents at risk. Social services look at placing him in a residential establishment, but he physically assaulted the member of staff tasked with assessing him. It was decided that the teenager could only be managed at MAPPP level three because his risk of harm could only be managed by co-operation from several agencies. He was transferred from the Young Offender Institute to prison prior to his release so he only had a short distance to travel to the hostel and a protocol was established with the police that hostel staff could contact them immediately if he posed a threat. Covert surveillance would be carried out at the hostel and a police action plan was drawn up should any further offences be committed. Having agreed to his responsibilities at the hostel, the offender subsequently breached a curfew order, police were called after he became drunk and aggressive. Ambulance crews treated him for a self-inflicted arm wound. Due to his unauthorised absence from the hostel, the offender was returned to custody. He is due for release in three months time on licence and will be the subject of another appropriate multiagency management plan. The case shows that some offenders are extremely difficult to manage. If the offender had been diagnosed with mental health problems he could have been placed in a secure unit, but as he had a personality disorder such options currently are not available without a change in current legislation.

Case Study Three: The sex offender
The offender in this case was managed at the MARC level two after being convicted of two offences of indecent assault and abduction on young girl whom he grabbed as she was playing in the street. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and was assessed as of very high risk of re-offending as there had been evidence of him networking with other sex offenders during his imprisonment. He had also gone through a number of sex offender treatment programmes and yet he was still a fixated paedophile. Following his release he was placed at a probation hostel where the following conditions were imposed. He was tagged between 3pm and 9pm daily, when children would have been around. He was subject to a hostel curfew at 11pm and had to sign in at the hostel on an hourly basis. It was decided that the Police Surveillance Unit would keep watch as the offender had been classed as a fixated paedophile and would take advantage of any situation possible. His residency at the hostel started well. He was very compliant with the conditions, but his behaviour soon raised cause for concern. Staff discovered he had purchased a mobile phone with integral camera and requested catalogues for children’s clothing. He also videoed children’s TV programmes portraying youngsters to whom it was known he was attracted and it was discovered that he was listening to conversations on his radio scanner writing down relevant information about youngsters including their names and ages. All the items were confiscated from the room, but it was clear the offender still posed a risk to children and he was the subject of monthly MARC meetings. Signings were relaxed, but it was decided to increase surveillance by the Police Surveillance Unit. This proved the key as the offender was seen at McDonalds with another resident from the probation hostel who was due to meet his wife and child. It transpired the meeting had been set up by the offender and he had specifically asked the girl to attend. He was seen taking pictures of the girl with his phone. As he was in breach of his licence conditions by being with the girl he was arrested and held in custody. He was subsequently transferred to another jail on and it is understood he will appeal against the recall of his licence. It was the first time in the Avon and Somerset force area that surveillance had been carried out to catch someone breaching their probation licence conditions. The offender will remain in prison until 2007 before he is eligible for further parole and goods seized from his possession at the hostel and are currently being investigated by Avon and Somerset police. The case demonstrates that such was the co-operation between relevant agencies, a meeting organised by a fixated paedophile that previously may have gone unnoticed was picked up and the appropriate action to return him to custody was taken.

Victims: The real focus of the MAPPA process
Introduction While the fundamental duty of those involved in the MAPPA process is to do everything in their power to safeguard the public from dangerous and violent offenders, the real priority is always to the victims. Section 69 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 places a statutory duty upon local Probation Boards to consult and notify victims about the release arrangements of offenders serving a sentence of 12 months or more for a sexual or violent crime. In order to deliver this vital service, there is a dedicated unit of staff, the Avon and Somerset Probation Area Victim Liaison Unit. Led by a manager, there are three Victim Liaison Officers, (VLO) a special administrative officer, and two administrative assistants. Members of the team meet regularly with victims and liaise with other staff in the Probation Service in order to provide those victims with information about what happens after a prisoner is sentenced. They are also given the opportunity to express their views about risk management arrangements for the particular offenders in their cases. The role of the victims in risk management is key as research suggests that in 80 per cent of sexual offending, the attacker is known to the victim. The victim is therefore able to provide a lot of detailed information, which can help reduce further offending. “Our overriding concern is the protection and safety of victims,” said Elizabeth Spencer. “Victims are offered the opportunity to be kept informed about developments in the offender’s sentence and they are invited to express their views on release plans as well as being told any relevant conditions that have been placed on an offenders release.”

During the period January to December 2003, a total of 398 new victims were offered contact in line with the Victims Charter. This is in addition to the on-going service offered to people who became victims prior to this period. Again, the following cases studies are based on real cases in the Avon and Somerset Constabulary area.

Case Study One: Indecent assault by a close friend of the family
This case study shows how the Victim Liaison Officers have such a vital role in explaining how the system to deal with offenders works and in the way they can represent the needs and wishes of both the victim and victim’s family. The victims were two children who had been indecently assaulted, and obscene photos had been taken by the offender who was a close friend of the father. A letter was sent to the parents of the victims, who responded and wanted to meet with victim liaison staff and talk about the offender and how it had affected them. It was the mother who revealed the offender’s connection with the family and she explained how he would often visit and offer to look after the children. The family welcomed the contact with the Victim Liaison Officer and they were able to obtain relevant information regarding the sentence and an explanation of how the offender progresses through the Criminal Justice agencies. The victims were concerned about whether or not their attacker would be able to return to their area to live, as they did not want to meet him on the streets locally. They had requested a Licence condition forbidding the offender from approaching or communicating with any of the family members. A victims’ report was prepared and sent to the supervising officer with the permission of the victims. Prior to Parole, the victims were contacted again to see if they had anything to add to their original statement and if they wished to talk again about the issues contained in the original report. They were also able to amend it as time had moved on. Prior to release, the case manager advised that the offender would be subject to MARC, which would discuss his release plan, collate information and raise any outstanding actions or issues. The victims were represented by the VLO and at the meeting all the points were discussed, i.e. accommodation, area, location, work, transport, signing the Sex Offender register. A plan was agreed and prepared for the release of the offender. Subsequently, the release and Licence conditions were accepted by the Parole Board and the offender has been released to another area. The victims have been advised what the conditions are in relation to them and they are currently content with the outcome of the release plan. There have been monthly reviews to monitor the progress of this offender, and to ascertain what the next steps should be for working with him. To date the offender has complied with his licence conditions.

Case Study Two: High risk of violence to a woman in terror
What is demonstrated in this case study is how without the intervention of the MAPPA process, the risk of further more serious offences would not have been managed properly. The offender was convicted of threats to kill after he had burst into his ex partner’s house and threatened to take the lives of both her and her husband. But the courts only imposed a two year community sentence. The offender was living in the area and the woman was so anxious about the safety of herself and her family that the CPS called in the Victim Liaison Unit. The officer assigned to the case found the woman had good reason to be terrified. The incident had happened many years after they had split up and there had been no contact during that time right up until the evening when he had hammered down the door of her home. She felt that the sentence did not protect her or her father who was living close to the offender’s home. Soon after, the offender was convicted of a burglary offence and was sentenced to a short custodial sentence. The offender said he bore no ill feeling to the woman or her husband, but as his release date approached, his behaviour deteriorated to the extent that a risk meeting was convened. The couple were identified as being at risk, and a no contact condition and exclusion from the place where they lived was added to the offender’s licence. The offender subsequently absconded from a hostel and the victims reported they had returned home from work and found a wreath of dead flowers placed in their back garden with a note threatening to kill them. No-one knew where the offender was but after several days he was sighted in a stolen car and in possession of a firearm. Eventually he was arrested and went to trial. The charges against him concerning the couple were dropped and he was convicted of theft, and recalled back to prison. Again he expressed remorse and seemed determined to change his ways. The couple were concerned that a pattern of behaviour was emerging and the he was not getting the psychiatric help he needed. His current supervising officer was unaware of the previous history regarding the woman and her husband so when this was reported to her it was agreed to convene a MARC. Two meetings were held one before release and one whilst on licence. It was agreed that he should live in a hostel throughout the licence period and the no contact condition should stand. Within a few weeks of his release, the woman informed the VLO that she had seen him in the town where she lived. On checking with the hostel it was found he had asked permission from staff to go to that area. Once again, the victim’s concerns were brought to the attention of the supervising officer and he agreed to discuss with the offender his motives for going to that place. Within two weeks of this the offender absconded, but fortunately he was picked up very quickly by the police in possession of a weapon. He had breached his licence and was back in prison. As he is due for release soon A further MARC has been convened, and part of that discussion will be about protecting the woman and her family. This case demonstrates the flexibility of the MARC process as even though his sentence had expired, some effective measures could be put into place to help prevent future harm to the woman and her family.

Case Study Three: Lifetime of abuse by a step-father
What this particularly tragic case study demonstrates is the support that VLOs can give a victim in even the most harrowing of circumstances and how they often walk a tightrope in maintaining some kind of family unit. The victim was the offender’s step-daughter and her rape marked the culmination of years of sexual abuse that she suffered for many years by the offender. The victim’s mother, who was married to the offender, was completely oblivious to the abuse and maintained contact with him throughout his prison sentence. He pleaded not guilty to the offence so put his victim through the harrowing experience of a trial. The offender was convicted prior to the introduction of legislation placing a statutory duty upon probation areas to contact victims of serious, violent or sexual crimes where the offender receives a prison sentence of 12 months or more. It was not until sometime later that a contact letter was sent to the victim, but she had moved home and face to face contact with her was not finally achieved until two years after that. By this time, the offender was being assessed for early release under parole. The victim was shocked to learn that the offender could be released early and was unaware that offenders do not serve the full term of their sentence in prison. She considered the offender posed a risk to young people as she knew that he was still in denial about the offences and that he had not undertaken any Sex Offender treatment programmes whilst in prison. She also knew that her mother was in denial and was concerned that their relationship would be compromised by the offender’s release to his home address, which he shared with her mother. According to the victim, her brother posed a risk to the offender as he had threatened to kill him when he came out of prison for what he had done to his sister. The Victim Liaison Officer prepared a report based on her meeting with the victim and shared this with the offender’s Probation Officer, with her permission. Parole was not being recommended by the home Probation Officer as the offender was in denial and had not undertaken any offence-focused work. But to the victim’s shock early release was granted. A MARC was convened urgently to deal with the issues of risk that the offender posed once released. The issue of risk to the offender from the victim’s brother was also noted as was the inability of their mother to provide a suitable home environment. The MARC decided that the offender should not be released to his home address but should go to a Probation Hostel for the first few months so that he could be monitored closely. The Probation Officer, Victim Liaison Officer and police officer attached to the Public Protection Unit of the Probation Service visited the brother on several occasions to help clarify a way forward for him that did not put either himself or the offender at risk. The Victim Liaison Officer and Probation Officer met with victim and her mother to find a way forward for them to continue their contact in a safe way that did not involve the offender. Conditions imposed on the licence which affected the victim included one of no contact with her either directly or indirectly, but no exclusion zone condition was requested as the victim had moved and did not want her new location made known to the offender. Mother has also maintained contact with the victim and her brother although the subject of the offender’s crimes remains an unresolved issue.

Statistics on offenders 2003/04
Below is the statistical information relating to the offenders managed under the MAPPA system in the Avon and Somerset force area for the 12 month period between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2004. The figures are divided into four category areas, registered sex offenders, violent and other sex offenders and other offenders, those who do not fall within the other two categories, but are assessed as posing risk to the public. The final category deals with the MAPPP cases, the so-called ‘critical few’ of offenders dealt with at the highest risk management level.

Category One: Registered sex offenders (RSOs)
No. of offenders
(a) The number of RSOs living in the Avon and Somerset area on 31 March 2004 671

(b) The number of RSOs per 100,000 head of population

XXX

(c) The number of Sex Offenders having a registration requirement who were cautioned or convicted for breaches of the requirement between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2004 20

(d) The number of Sex Offenders Orders (i) applied for (ii) imposed by the courts in the Avon and Somerset area between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 31 2004 7 7

(e) The number of interim Sex Offender Orders (i) applied for (ii) imposed by the courts in the Avon and Somerset area between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 31 2004 7 7

Category Two: Violent offenders and other sexual offenders
No. of offenders
(a) The number of violent and other sexual offenders living in the Avon and Somerset area between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2004

347

Category Three: Other offenders
No. of offenders
(a) The number of other offenders living in the Avon and Somerset area between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2004 53

(a) The number of restraining orders imposed on any MAPPA offenders by the courts in the Avon and Somerset area between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2004 10

Category Four: MAPPA cases
No. of offenders
(a) How many MAPPA offenders in the three previous categories were managed through the MAPPA system between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2004 (i) Registered sex offenders (ii) Violent offenders and other sexual offenders (iii) Other offenders 4 1 2

(b) Of the cases managed by the MAPPA system between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2004 how many, whilst still in MAPPA (i) Were returned to custody for a breach of licence (ii) Were returned to custody for a breach of a restraining order or sex offender order (iii) Were charged with a serious sexual or violent offence 1

1 0

The people who help shape the MAPPA process
Avon and Somerset Probation Area Jill Cotgrove Assistant Chief Officer Jill.Cotgrove@avon-somerset.probation.gsx.gov.uk Address 10 Canon Street Taunton Somerset TA1 1SN Phone 01823 346411

Mair Wise MAPPA Co-ordinator mair.wise@avon-somerset.probation.gsx.gov.uk

Bridewell Probation Office Bridewell Street Bristol BS1 2JX

0117 930 3720

Avon and Somerset Police Steve Mortimore Assistant Chief Constable steve.mortimore@avonandsomerset.police.uk

Address Police HQ PO Box 37 Valley Road Portishead Bristol BS20 8QJ

Phone 01275 816009

Trevor Simpson Detective Superintendent trevor.simpson@avonandsomerset.police.uk

Police HQ PO Box 37 Valley Road Portishead Bristol BS20 8QJ

01275 816630

Victim Support Coordinators Ian Deane Chief Executive

Address Area Office Unit 5 19 West Walk Yate Bristol BS37 4AZ 9a The Butts Blackdown View Ilminster Somerset TA19 0AY 36 Deane Lane Bedminster Bristol BS3 1BS Radstock Police Station Wells Road Radstock Bath BA23 3SG

Phone 01454 334420

Russell Kent Area Manager

01460 55535

Bristol

0117 963 1114

North East Somerset

01761 432212

Victim Support Coordinators North Woodspring

Address PO Box 1013 Nailsea Bristol BS48 2FG C/o South Glos Council 244 Station Road Yate South Glos BS37 4AF 12a Westgate Street Bath BA1 1EQ Weston Police Station Walliscote Road Weston Super Mare BS23 1UU

Phone 01275 846892

South Gloucestershire

01454 866548

Bath

01225 444212

Weston Super Mare

01934 638179

Members of MAPPP Strategic Group Sally Churchyard Tony May Chris Knight Fred Inman Suzy Dymond-White Joanne Brandon Tim Archer Ian Deane Mair Wise Anita Wiegel

Agency B&NES Youth Offending Team Somerset Social Services Housing Services – South Glos Council Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Trust HM Prison Service Avon and Somerset Constabulary Somerset NHS and Social Care Trust Victim Support Avondale MAPP Co-ordinator MAPP Administrator