National Probation Service


Issue 28

November 2005

The work of three probation areas was recognised at the annual Justice Awards. • • • Nottinghamshire Probation Area, part of a multi-agency team initiative to reduce drug-related acquisitive crime, was declared the overall winner for the Sherwood project. Dorset Probation Area’s community service team in Wareham won the Partnership of the Year Award for the work of offenders at the Tank Museum at Bovington Camp. Anne Matthews, communications manager at Lancashire, was runner-up in the engaging communities category for her radio campaign to inform people about the new sentences in the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

Nottinghamshire’s Sherwood Persistent and Prolific Offenders Project won the award for outstanding contribution to working with offenders and was also chosen as the overall winner of the Justice Awards 2005. The team, made up of probation, police and prison staff working together, has vastly cut the re-offending rate of offenders taking part. A sample group showed a 55% reduction in offences committed over a two-year period. Offenders who take part receive better-targeted drug treatment and stay in treatment programmes longer. Home Office Minister Baroness Scotland, who presented the awards, described the project as “a superb example of the whole criminal justice service working together to reduce crime and prevent re-offending by a very challenging group of offenders.” The project provides intensive supervision and support to around 260 offenders at any one time. It was rolled out across Nottinghamshire in January 2004, acting as a trailblazer for similar schemes which have now been introduced nationally. The teams identify offenders and assess them for the most appropriate level of intervention. Offenders are then put on drug treatment programmes and given access to housing, education, training and employment opportunities to prevent further offending. Those who fail to comply face prompt enforcement action which may include recall to prison. Over a two-year period in the county, burglary dropped by 23.6%, robbery by 22.2% and vehicle crime by 19.8%.

The Wareham Community Service Unit has been involved with the Tank Museum at Bovington Camp (a registered charity) for four years. Offenders sentenced to unpaid work have provided the labour to clean and maintain the exhibits which catalogue the evolution of tank warfare from ‘Little Willy’ to the latest British Challenger main battle tank. The museum is proud of the fact that it has more tanks than the British Army. This project has been a partnership, which focused on punishment and rehabilitation. Tuition in engineering and basic skills has been provided by Weymouth College with funding from the Learning and Skills Council. Offenders have ranged in age from 16 to 78, many have been excluded from school and lack basic qualifications. One of the aims of the project is to increase their employability by helping them achieve level 2 in literacy and numeracy (equivalent to GCSE grade C) and gain an engineering qualification. To date the offenders have worked on several vehicles including changing the tracks on a Chieftain tank, refurbishing a Ferret armoured car, a 432 Armoured Personnel Carrier and a M360 tracked vehicle which is used to give rides to the public. Unit manager Mike Thomas said the whole team was “chuffed to bits” at receiving the award.

Anne Matthews, communications manager for Lancashire Probation Area, received the runner-up’s individual award for outstanding contribution to engaging with communities. Anne engages with people in Lancashire directly and through the media, contributing to public understanding and communities’ involvement in probation work. The work for which she received the award formed part of a project to increase public awareness of the delivery of justice in Lancashire, particularly in connection with the implementation of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Anne coordinated a radio campaign including voices of probation staff, a community beneficiary and two ex-offenders, describing how probation staff deliver effective interventions. It was heard by over 300,000 listeners during one week in September 2005. The sound track will be repeated at probation and court open days, public events and training events.

Photographs from the awards including the tank museum can be found on the National Probation Service website

Further Briefings like this one will be produced as necessary and will be posted on the National Probation Service website at:>News and Updates>Briefings Issued by NPD Communications