MULTI-AGENCY PUBLIC PROTECTION PANEL ANNUAL REPORT 2002 BEDFORDSHIRE

SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION Bedfordshire Police and the National Probation Service in Bedfordshire are committed to promoting an environment in which people can live and work safely and without fear. The aims and objectives of both organisations are met by having in place local arrangements to effectively deal with the small number of people assessed as likely to pose a risk of serious harm to others, either directly or as a consequence of their actions. In April 1998 a framework was established between the two organisations and arrangements put in place to develop joint working procedures. The framework has been further developed since then, and now provides the Multi Agency Public Protection Panel (MAPPP) meetings, enabling police and probation to work jointly on the assessment and management of all those who pose a serious risk to the public, including registered sex offenders. The framework is reviewed and revised on a twice yearly basis. MAPPP meetings are now held on a monthly basis and discussions take place on a case by case basis. Other agencies including social services, education, housing, and health are invited to participate as appropriate. This document provides further details of the arrangements made in Bedfordshire for the protection of the public from dangerous offenders, including registered sex offenders, and gives contact points for any additional enquiries, including agencies other than police and probation. SECTION 2: SUMMARY OF ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES Two Senior Probation Officers, representing Luton and South Beds; and Bedford, Mid Beds and North Bedfordshire are responsible for overseeing the work of the MAPPP in their area, and for convening and chairing each meeting of the local panel. Bedfordshire Police liaise closely and routinely with each of the senior probation officers through a specialist Detective Constable who has a dedicated role in co-ordinating police activity relating to those identified as dangerous offenders. Following a strategic review, a second Detective Constable has been appointed this year, and administrative support provided for both posts from April 2002. Both police officers report to the Director of Intelligence at Bedfordshire Police Headquarters. When a panel meeting is called by the Senior Probation Officer, other agencies will be invited to attend as is deemed necessary. All agencies are bound by the statements of confidentiality contained in the MAPPPs protocol. Agencies who may be involved are: • • • • • Bedfordshire County Council Social Services Luton Council Social Services Local Authority Housing Departments Education Services in Luton and Bedfordshire Mental Health Trust

Additionally, on occasion, individual victims may be invited to attend a panel meeting where consideration is being given to the release of a prisoner on licence. The victim’s concerns about the release can be aired, and these may subsequently be taken into account when consideration is given to possible conditions which may be attached to a prisoner being freed on licence. SECTION 3: OUTLINE OF THE ARRANGEMENTS MADE Assessment procedures: Within the framework of the Bedfordshire MAPPP, there are procedures for the assessment and management of sexual, violent and dangerous offenders. The assessment and management of these offenders is at three levels:
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(a) (b) (c)

Information exchange (for lower risk cases) Joint police and probation agreed risk assessment for potentially dangerous offenders Multi-Agency Public Protection Panel meetings to provide monitoring and management of dangerous offenders.

Levels of risk are assessed using the Offender Assessment System (OASys), which has been developed by the Home Office for use within the National Probation Service for England and Wales and the Prison Service. OASys is able to identify: • • • • • risk of harm to the public risk of harm to a specific group of people (eg. children) risks posed to staff risk of self harm risk to the offender from others

Referrals to the panel: Referrals will normally be made by Bedfordshire Probation Area. Staff will use the OASys risk assessment procedures and special procedures for registering dangerous offenders and sexual offenders for whom they assume responsibility. In cases where there is real concern regarding the risk of serious harm occurring the Probation Officer will complete a Referral Form, instigate a multi-agency meeting, and pass details of the case to the Nominated Officer at Police Headquarters who will be responsible for obtaining full details of the offender. Where a referral relates to a prisoner, it may be decided that referral to the panel should not take place until release plans are being considered. Resettlement cases will include those prisoners where voluntary contact is agreed in the absence of statutory supervision. In these cases, the primary objective of the panel will be in the sharing of information relating to risk to the public. The police service has a responsibility to register sex offenders under the provisions set out in the Sex Offender Act 1997. Risk assessments will be carried out on those persons registered, where necessary, by the Sex and Dangerous Offenders Unit using information obtained in accordance with existing protocols between agencies including Bedfordshire Probation Area. In all cases referred by Bedfordshire Police, the Director of Intelligence at Headquarters will pass details of the case to the nominated Senior Probation Officer, who will be responsible for ensuring that full details of the offender are provided in order than an informed decision can be made as to future action. Operation of the Multi Agency Public Protection Panel: The objectives of the panel are: • • • • • • Share information on those offenders referred to it Decide upon the level of risk posed by the offender Recommend the action necessary to manage the risk including any contingencies Monitor and ensure implementation of the agreed action Review the level of risk and the action plan in the light of changes in circumstances or behaviour Consider and manage necessary resources

Meetings of the local panel take place on a monthly basis, although either service may convene a panel meeting in an emergency at 12 hours notice. Where the offender is judged to pose a serious risk to the community he/she will be placed on the MAPPPs Register. Duplicate copies of the register are held by police and probation.

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The register will contain: • • • • • • • • • The name of the offender Case Reference Number Criminal Record Number Type of supervision Name of supervising officer Reason for registration Nature of risk Date of registration Review date

A risk management plan will be drawn up by the panel, which is then reviewed on a monthly basis with each agency’s contribution recorded and progress reviewed. Where relevant a Victim Liaison Officer will attend the meeting and, on occasions, a victim has attended for part of the proceedings. In the interim between each meeting routine informal probation/police liaison continues on a case-by-case basis. The outcome of the panel hearing is tailored to the risk profile of the individual offender with specific requirements attached as necessary, eg. extra conditions on a prison licence prior to release/required attendance on an offending behaviour programme/restrictions on movement and non-contact. In the most serious cases police surveillance may be considered. SECTION 4: STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS The framework for the work of the local panels is reviewed every six months. The review is attended by: an Assistant Chief Probation Officer, Police Director of Intelligence, and the MAPPPs panel members from police and probation. The review not only reflects on the working of the panel arrangements and framework, but also looks at the number of cases that have come before the panel, and any issues that have arisen as part of the process. Developing the framework: In February 2002 the probation and police services in Bedfordshire hosted a multi-agency seminar on MAPPPs for local agencies throughout Luton and Bedfordshire. The purpose of the seminar was to ensure local agencies understood fully the purpose of the MAPPPs, and appreciated the importance of their potential contribution. The seminar was well attended, with most agencies represented at both strategic and operational levels. The probation service has subsequently been involved in discussions with Bedfordshire Social Services to foster a higher level of joint working under the strategic arrangements. This is the first stage towards the development of a fully-fledged multi-agency approach to risk assessment and management. The police and probation services will jointly be re-assessing the current framework over the coming months, to consider the inclusion of other agencies, particularly Social Services, as core members of the MAPPP, and discussions will take place with the relevant agencies. Other agencies not involved in these discussions will continue to contribute to panel meetings under existing arrangements. SECTION 5: DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION There may be occasions when disclosure of information is valuable in assisting in reducing the risk posed. The date there has been only one disclosure under the MAPPP arrangements – to another agency – a housing provider. In this instance information about the offender’s previous convictions
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and offending behaviour patterns was provided to the housing agency to ensure that the offender was not placed in family accommodation with access to children. The arrangements also recognise that there may be occasions when disclosure of information could be helpful in assisting particular sections of the local community, eg. in the very rare cases of predatory sex offenders, police could decide on disclosure to local schools in a particular neighbourhood. Disclosure beyond agencies involved to wider sections of the community would only be made where there is a pressing need, and each decision on whether or not to disclose would have to be justified on the basis of the likelihood of the harm which non-disclosure would otherwise cause. In very case brought before the MAPPP, consideration is given to disclosure, and it is the responsibility of the panel to make a decision based on careful and rigorous examination of all available information. In cases involving sex offenders, the ultimate responsibility for disclosure rests with the Chief Constable. Disclosure to the media is recognised as potentially of value, where they may be able to assist with public protection by widespread coverage of an individual case. Eg. if a high risk offender deliberately absconds and his whereabouts become unknown, the police could decide to make an appeal for information through the media. Bedfordshire Police will act as the lead agency in all media-related cases. Plans for these possibilities are always in place, but because of the management arrangements already established, it is hoped their use will only rarely be justified. There have to date been no instances of such disclosures in Luton or Bedfordshire. SECTION 6: VICTIMS WORK Under the terms of Section 69 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000, the probation service is under a statutory duty to contact victims to ask if they wish to be consulted about prison release arrangements where these involve violent or sexual offenders sentenced to 12 months custody or more. Victims are entitled to be kept informed of the offender’s release arrangements including the month and general location of their release, and of the existence of any licence conditions that may affect the victim, eg. a condition may be placed on the licence forbidding the offender from making contact with the victim. The probation service in Luton and Bedfordshire has a discrete Victim Liaison Unit with three staff members engaged solely in work with victims. The Victim Liaison Unit now offers information services to all victims of serious violent or sexual offences where the offender is sentenced to imprisonment for one year or more. The unit also offers a service to some victims of burglary, and is currently developing a mediation service. Victims are also made aware of the services of Victim Support in Luton and Bedfordshire. Victim Support is the national charity for people affected by crime. It is an independent organisation, offering a free and confidential service, whether or not a crime has been reported. Trained staff and volunteers at local branches offer information and support to victims, witnesses, their family and friends. Victim Support provides the Witness Service, based in every criminal court in England and Wales, to offer assistance before, during and after a trial. Information and support is also available on the Victim Support Line 0845 30 30 900.

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Section 7: Statistical information
i The number of Registered Sex Offenders (RSOs) in the community on 31st March 2002 (s68(2) CJ & CS Act 2000) The number of RSOs per 100,000 population ii The number of Sex Offenders cautioned/convicted for breaches of registration requirements 1st April 2001 – 31st March 2002 The number of Sex Offender Orders 1st April and 31st March

Number of offenders
156

28 4

iii

(a) The total number applied for (b) The number granted (c) The number not granted (d) Applications still in progress iv The number of violent offenders and other sex offenders 1st April 2001 – 31st March 2002 (s68(3)(4)&(5) CJ & CS Act 2000) The number of other offenders 1st April 2001 – 31st March 2002 (s67(2)(b) CJ & CS Act 2000)

1 1 0 0 197

0

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v

The cost of the local arrangements to include initial set-up costs and staff hours National Probation Service – Bedfordshire Staff costs Other costs Total NOTE: These are approximate figures only and relate to staffing costs to run/administer MAPPPs and all associated training/planning activities. Bedfordshire Police Staff costs Other costs Total COST 35,000 Nil £35,000 COST £15,500 Nil £15,500

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CONTACTS
Bedfordshire Probation Area Assistant (MAPPPs) Chief Probation Officer Address Bedfordshire Probation Area Head Office 3 St Peter’s Street Bedford MK40 2PN Luton Probation Office Frank Lord House 72 Chapel Street Luton LU1 5DA Bedford Probation Office 41 Harpur Street Bedford MK40 1LY Address Sex & Dangerous Offenders Unit Police Headquarters Woburn Road Kempston Bedford MK43 9AX Address Bedfordshire Victim Support Saxon Centre 230 Bedford Road Kempston Bedford Phone 01234 213541

Senior Probation Officer (Luton & South Bedfordshire)

01582 413172

Senior Probation Officer (Bedford/Mid Beds/North Beds)

01234 350401

Bedfordshire Police Force Co-ordinator

Phone 01234 842356

Bedfordshire Victim Support Director

Phone 01234 840300

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