You are on page 1of 14

Northumbria Area

Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)


Annual Report 2002
Arrangements for managing
high risk and dangerous
offenders in Northumbria

www.northumbria.police.uk www.northumbria-probation.co.uk
CONTENTS

Page

1. INTRODUCTION 2

2. SUMMARY OF ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES 2

3. OUTLINE OF ARRANGEMENTS TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC 4

4. STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS 6

5. DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION 7

6. WORK WITH VICTIMS 9

7. STATISTICAL INFORMATION 11

8. CONTACT DETAILS 13
1. INTRODUCTION

In Northumbria, local arrangements between police and probation officers to exchange


information about high risk, sexual or violent offenders have existed for some time.

In response to the Sex Offenders Act 1997, some of this work was formalised with the
development of written guidance and protocols to manage the risk posed by dangerous sex
offenders.

Across Northumbria’s six local authority areas (Newcastle, Sunderland, Northumberland,


North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Gateshead), work continues to develop additional joint
protocols, involving housing, social services and health, to support the process of managing
the risk posed by some offenders in the community.

In relation to sex offenders, The Derwent Initiative (a voluntary organisation which helps to
co-ordinate an effective inter-agency response to sexual offending), has worked
collaboratively with probation, police and other agencies, to produce a set of quality
standards which provide a framework for effective risk management arrangements.

Co-operation between the relevant agencies and organisations is very productive and the
information exchanged is valuable when developing action plans to enhance public
protection.

This document gives further details of the arrangements made in Northumbria and provides
contact points for any additional enquiries.

2. SUMMARY OF ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

In recognition that better public protection can be achieved through collaborative


arrangements, the police and probation services work in partnership with other agencies and
organisations whose responsibilities can contribute substantially towards effective public
protection. Those involved so far, in addition to police and probation services, are:

Social Services

Northumbria Police and Probation have close links with social services departments, including
youth offending teams, and take an active role on all six local Area Child Protection
Committees, attending child protection conferences and reviews when appropriate. Training
offered by probation officers to social services staff has supported these links.

Social services are regularly represented as required on Multi Agency Public Protection Panels
(MAPPPs) and risk management conferences.

Alongside attendance at these meetings, social services have been involved in such local
initiatives as Leisurewatch and the Learning Disabilities Project (see elsewhere in this report).

2
Prisons

There are two prisons located in the Northumbria area – HMYOI Castington and HMP
Acklington. Locally, other prisons are HMP Durham, HMP Frankland, HMYOI Deerbolt, HMP
Kirk Levington, HMP Low Newton and HMP Holme House. Prison staff are invited to
MAPPPs and risk management conferences for prisoners returning to the Northumbria area.

Any MAPPA or risk management conference should be held three months prior to the
prisoner’s release. In cases where it is important to sort out issues relating to
accommodation, planning should begin at an earlier stage.

Close links between prison and probation staff mean information is shared on a regular basis
to assess the risk an individual may pose, and to plan for managing that risk in the
community. Probation staff based in prisons notify the Northumbria Probation Area’s
specialist sex offender team of any sex offender about to be released.

Health

Local mental health services have recently been restructured, resulting in two large trusts
covering the Northumbria area. Discussions are soon to begin with the Trusts’ Chief
Executives regarding representation at MAPPPs.

Links are being developed with the Northgate and Prudhoe NHS Trust, which manages
residential hospitals for people with mental health problems.

In the meantime, other relevant health professionals come to MAPPA meetings when invited.

Northumbria probation area works very closely with forensic mental health services from St
Nicholas’ Hospital in Gosforth, Newcastle. Both services are involved in two collaborative
projects.

• The Sexual Behaviour Unit provides assessment and treatment for adults who fall
outside the statutory duty of probation and police, but who may still pose a risk in
relation to sexual abuse of children or adults. Probation staff and the forensic mental
health team jointly staff the unit work and develop its work.

• Sex Offender Treatment Programme Plus (SOTP+) is a meeting between health,


probation, police and prison staff, to which prisoners are referred prior to release if
there are concerns about treatment and risk management in the community. This
ensures the offender is referred to psychological and psychiatric treatment if
appropriate, as well as the probation service’s community-based sex offender
groupwork programme.

In addition, the area has two more schemes involving health service staff: the Learning
Disabilities Project (see over page), and a recent bid to the Department of Health for funding
to pilot a community forensic team to work with personality disordered offenders. It is
proposed the team will consist of probation staff, community psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists
and psychologists, and will link into the current risk management arrangements.

3
Accommodation

The Northumbria area is fortunate to have access to four Home Office approved premises
(hostels). The premises house a range of offenders at different stages of the criminal justice
process, i.e. on bail, after conviction and following release from prison. There are strict rules
and conditions of residence, meaning all offenders living there are closely monitored.

Living in supported and structured accommodation helps individuals to resettle more


effectively in the community. Voluntary or local authority housing providers can provide
move-on accommodation when deemed appropriate.

Protocols exist with some local authority housing departments, but responses to the housing
of serious and sexual offenders do vary throughout the region. However, it is clear that
housing personnel are becoming more aware of how they can assist the probation service
and police to manage the risk some offenders may pose. Training is planned for senior
housing officers later in the year.

Leisurewatch

Leisurewatch is a community-based scheme that aims to reduce the risks posed by sex
offenders to children and young people. It is a multi-agency project that brings together the
key agencies responsible for child protection with frontline workers in the leisure industry.
The project is run and overseen by The Derwent Initiative.

Under the scheme, leisure staff are trained to recognise inappropriate and potentially
dangerous behaviour and they have a direct link with the police who they can contact
regarding any concerns. Funding to expand this project has been granted by the Home
Office and a full-time co-ordinator was recently appointed.

Learning Disabilities Project

This project is also managed by The Derwent Initiative and is focused on the risk assessment
and management of individuals with learning disabilities who have either committed a sexual
offence or displayed inappropriate sexual behaviour.

Psychologists, social workers, probation and housing providers are working in a team to
devise an integrated risk management plan. Funding has been granted by the Home Office
and a full time co-ordinator was recently appointed.

3. OUTLINE OF ARRANGEMENTS TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC

In addition to the day-to-day work of police and probation services outlined in this report,
Northumbria has developed multi-agency arrangements for the assessment and management
of sexual, violent and other dangerous offenders. The result is that the assessment and
management of offenders is on four levels:

• Assessment by a single agency, i.e. probation or police


• Information sharing meetings - for medium/high risk cases

4
• Joint police and probation risk management conferences - for potentially dangerous
offenders; this could be described as the high risk group
• Multi Agency Public Protection Panel (MAPPA) meetings - for the critical few offenders
deemed the most dangerous or worrying.

Whenever a joint or multi-agency approach would help to improve public protection, police,
probation and any other relevant agency, such as housing, health or social services, will share
all relevant information and make joint plans to reduce the risk presented by the individual.

Under the current arrangements, MAPPPs (which are reserved for the highest risk offenders)
are convened and chaired by probation service senior managers.

If a MAPPA or risk management conference is convened, members work to an agreed format


which governs the structure of the meeting, layout of minutes and confidentiality. All
relevant agencies are represented at the meetings – including those with particular
knowledge relevant to the case – and a full information exchange takes place.

In the case of those offenders awaiting release from custody, prison staff will sometimes
attend the MAPPA in order to provide additional information. Representatives from the
organisation which plans to provide accommodation for the offender in the community will
also attend.

During MAPPPs, a written record of all decisions and any subsequent risk management
strategy is made. This allows the strategy to be constantly reviewed and monitored.

In three of Northumbria’s local authority areas, a standing MAPPA is convened on a monthly


basis to deal with any high risk offenders who are living in the community or about to be
released from prison.

In the other three local authority areas, MAPPPs are called as and when required.

Risk management conferences are usually called and chaired by probation service team
managers.

Information sharing meetings can be called by any of the relevant agencies, as and when
required, to pool information on a particular individual.

These arrangements have been approved and endorsed by the Northumbria Probation Board,
members of which are drawn from local communities in Tyne and Wear and
Northumberland.

Ongoing risk assessment

The risk posed by individual offenders is assessed using nationally recognised methods which
are used across the criminal justice system. This means the agencies involved have a shared
concept of the level of risk.

The probation service’s initial risk assessment of all offenders takes place when probation
officers produce pre sentence reports to assist the court in determining a suitable sentence.
The information in these reports will also be used by the probation service if the offender is
subsequently given a community sentence, such as a community punishment order or
community rehabilitation order.
5
If an offender is sent to prison, a further assessment will be carried out before they are
released under probation service supervision. Depending on the period of time they are to
be supervised after release, the offender will be reassessed several times once they are back
in the community, and, where necessary, appropriate public protection plans will be put in
place by police and probation.

The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 defines which cases are to be considered
for joint risk assessment and management between police and probation. Where an
offender is not considered a high risk, joint arrangements are unlikely to be necessary. Such
cases are kept under review, however, and where appropriate new information will be
exchanged between police and probation. This may lead to a reassessment of the risk
posed.

MAPPA members work towards an agreement on the level of risk and formulate an action
plan to manage that risk. All agencies represented are held to account for any tasks to be
carried out under the action plan.

Regular review meetings are held, and emergency MAPPPs can be called as necessary if
circumstances change. Police, probation staff and others involved in the agreed action plan
keep in regular contact between meetings.

The Northumbria Probation Area runs a Home Office accredited sex offender treatment
programme for individuals living in the community. The programme is aimed at changing the
way offenders think and behave and it has a track record in reducing offending.

In addition, there are two accredited thinking skills programmes for tackling the behaviour of
persistent offenders and one to address the behaviour of domestic violence perpetrators.

In some cases, offenders assessed by a MAPPA are not under any statutory supervision in the
community. These tend to be individuals who were convicted of serious offences in the
past but who have not been reconvicted since. The MAPPA may meet to discuss them
because their recent behaviour causes some concern.

4. STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS

Northumbria has an Area Criminal Justice Strategy Committee (ACJSC) which, amongst other
duties, exercises strategic inter-agency management oversight of risk management
arrangements. The ACJSC is the area’s primary criminal justice inter-agency forum and its
membership includes the following representatives:

Chair:
The Recorder of Newcastle
Members:
Chief Constable, Northumbria Police
Chief Officer, Northumbria Probation Area
North East Area Manager for HM Prison Service
Justice’s Chief Executive for Northumbria
Chief Crown Prosecutor, Crown Prosecution Service, Northumbria
Chief Executive of Northumberland, Tyne & Wear Strategic Health Authority

6
Magistrates’ Association Representative
Northumbria Victim Support Co-ordinator
Group Manager for Newcastle Court Service
Director of Tyne and Wear Racial Equality Council
A Director of Social Services
Regional Crime Reduction Director, Government Office (North East)
Regional Director, Criminal Defence Service
A Head of Youth Offending Services
Member from local ethnic minority community

The Committee will be regularly briefed about how multi-agency risk management
arrangements are operating in Northumbria and provides a forum through which leaders of
the key agencies involved can influence developments within their own organisations.

Northumbria Police and Probation also have a joint steering group primarily concerned with
liaison and operational management of risk management arrangements. The group
comprises: the Detective Chief Inspector from Force Intelligence Bureau and the Detective
Sergeant from the Sex Offenders Unit of Northumbria Police, and the Divisional Director for
Community Programmes and the Risk Management Manager from the Northumbria
Probation Area.

This group feeds back to other appropriate members of staff within both agencies.
Probation input is to the senior managers’ risk meeting, which informs practice throughout
the area. In the police information is disseminated to crime managers in local area
commands and to more senior personnel.

5. DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION

As part of the wider risk management process, one of the strategies that can be considered
in order to reduce risk is the sharing of relevant information with appropriate individuals,
groups or sections of the community.

The option for disclosure of information about individual offenders is considered at every
MAPPA meeting. Disclosure can happen in a variety of ways, depending on the offender and
the offences, and the final decision about whether to use this option to protect the public is
taken by police and probation staff.

For example, where an individual has a history of sex offences, information may be passed to
a new partner if there are concerns about the partner or any children in the family becoming
a potential victim. In the very rare cases of known predatory sex offenders, there may be
disclosure to schools in a particular neighbourhood.

Disclosure rarely means provision of information to the media or the wider public; it usually
takes place on a one-to-one basis, and is handled sensitively by the professionals involved.

General disclosure to the public of specific information is likely to lead to the offender
moving elsewhere, possibly without informing the relevant authorities such as police and
probation. Often the concept of public notification is enough to deter worrying behaviour.

7
Disclosure to the media is possible where public protection could be enhanced by wide
coverage of an individual case. For example, if an offender deliberately fails to comply with
supervision and his whereabouts become unknown, the responsible authority may make an
appeal for information. This may help to help track down the offender and thereby protect
the public.

There have been no instances so far of disclosure through the media in Northumbria, but
examples of other instances of disclosure are outlined below.

Example 1:

A high risk sex offender was released from prison and living under probation service
supervision. Information obtained by police indicated he had befriended a woman with a
young child and was intending to move in with her.

Joint action was initiated between police and probation and a disclosure about the man’s
offences was made to the woman concerned.

At the same time, and following additional information obtained by the police from the
woman involved, the probation service activated powers of immediate recall to send the man
back to prison. The offender was arrested and recalled on the same day.

Example 2:

A woman cyclist reported to police that she had been closely followed by a man driving a car
who was acting inappropriately towards her. The man was arrested and charged with a
public order offence. He had no previous criminal convictions, but had been arrested a few
months previously for a similar offence elsewhere in the area.

Police were concerned when they found out that the offender was employed in a job which
gave him access to women in their homes and so disclosed the nature of the allegations to
his employers.

Example 3:

An offender with previous convictions for child sex offences had a background of befriending
single women or families with children.

Whilst in prison, he was corresponding with a woman employed as a teacher and it became
apparent that they were involved in a relationship.

Disclosure of his convictions and method of offending were made to the local authority and
to the teacher to ensure that she was fully aware of his history and of the level of risk he
posed.

General advice

The police and probation services are aware of where convicted sex offenders are living and
work collaboratively to manage this. Methods used to protect the community can include
police surveillance, electronic monitoring (tagging), and intensive probation service
supervision.

8
There are sex offenders in most communities. Some of them are known to the authorities,
by reason of a previous conviction, but many are never caught or charged with an offence.
If children are to be kept as safe as possible, there are some basic measures which they and
their parents/carers can take.

• Try to ensure that children travel to and from school either with a known adult or in
groups.
• During the evenings, weekends and school holidays, make sure you know where your
child is and remember the 3 Ws –know where your child is, who they are with, and
agree a time when they will be home.
• Be cautious about anyone who has unsupervised contact with children, e.g. babysitters,
and make sure you know as much as you can about them.
• If a child shows any concern about being with a particular babysitter or member of the
family, then take them seriously – most abuse takes place within the family and is
carried out by someone well known to the child
• Teach your child about “stranger danger” – children unaccompanied by an adult should
not respond to any approach by a stranger.

If you have any concerns about a child, or about an individual’s behaviour, please report
them immediately to the local police, who will take any action necessary.

6. WORK WITH VICTIMS

Section 69 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 places a statutory duty upon
the probation service to provide information and support to people who have been a victim
of a violent or sexual crime where the offender was sentenced to 12 months or more in
custody. The Northumbria Probation Area has a specialist victim liaison unit which offers a
comprehensive service to individuals or families who have been affected by this type of
crime.

The unit is run by probation staff and a victim support* co-ordinator. The probation worker’s
role is two-fold, providing the victim with information about the custodial process and also
obtaining details of any concerns they have about release.

With consent, the victim’s concerns are included in a written report submitted to the prison
and parole board for consultation when the offender is being considered for release. This
can have a direct impact on elements of the offender’s living arrangements back in the
community.

Where a victim indicates it would be helpful, staff maintain regular contact throughout the
whole of the offender’s sentence. The aim is to keep victims informed of developments, to
meet any general support needs or, if necessary, to refer them on to specialist agencies for
more in-depth counselling or support.

Another important part of the unit’s work is to help reduce any risk posed by the offender to
the victim in the future. Staff ensure the victim’s concerns and viewpoint are passed on to
the probation officer supervising the offender and, in appropriate cases, to other agencies
such as the police. As part of this, victim liaison officers are often invited to attend MAPPPs.

9
Probation partnerships with local women’s support groups enhance the work we do with
men convicted of domestic violence. Probation staff work to tackle the attitudes and
behaviour of the offender, while the women’s groups support the victim and provide a
valuable point of liaison for those working with the offender.

Northumbria Police have trained family liaison officers and sex offences officers who provide
a ready point of contact for support and advice to those who have been victims of violent or
sexual assaults. They work with victims during the investigation, pre-trial and trial period up
to the point of sentence.

* 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 families and friends.

Victim Support provides a witness service, based in every criminal court in England and
Wales, to offer assistance before, during and after a trial. You can call the Victim Support line
- 0845 30 30 900 - for information and details of local services and other relevant
organisations.

The contact number for local victim support services can be found in section 8 of this report.

10
7. STATISTICAL INFORMATION – Northumbria Area

i. The number of Registered Sex Offenders (RSOs) in the


553
community on 31st March 2002

The number of RSOs per 100,000 population in Northumbria 39

ii. The number of sex offenders cautioned/ convicted for


breaches of registration requirement between 1 April 2001 31
and 31 March 2002

iii. The number of Sex Offender Orders between 1 April 2001


and 31 March 2002

(a) total applied for 6

(b) granted 6

(c) not granted 0

(d) applications still in progress 1

iv. The number of violent or sex offenders who fall within


section 68(3) (4) & (5) of the Criminal Justice and Court
Services Act 2000 between 1 April 2001 and 31 March 2002, 338
(unless they are already a registered sex offender); i.e.
violent or sex offenders who require joint risk assessment
and management, but who are not on the Register.

The number of other offenders considered under local risk


management arrangements between 1 April 2001 and 31
March 2002 because they were assessed as posing a high 41
risk of harm to the public (but who did not fall within
either of the two categories immediately above).

11
THE COST OF LOCAL RISK MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS

The Home Office has requested information on the cost of implementing the new risk
management arrangements, in order to assess additional costs incurred by the agencies
involved.

Police and probation services have, for some time, worked in partnership to exchange
important information to protect the public and manage the risk posed by some offenders in
the community. The introduction of MAPPPs has obviously resulted in some extra work for
key individuals from each agency.

However, in Northumbria, no new specialist unit has been established solely to deal with the
new requirements and the extra work created by MAPPPs has been absorbed mainly by
existing risk assessment and risk management structures in the police and probation services.

An estimate would be that each MAPPA meeting involves:

• An average of one and a half hours travelling time and expenses for each attendee
• The main meeting lasting approximately one hour
• Two to three hours administration and clerical time drawing up/amending the action
plan.

The cost of the above will obviously depend of the number and grade of staff attending the
meeting and the complexity of each individual case.

As a rough guide, each MAPPA meeting will involve a senior manager from both police and
probation, two middle managers from both police and probation, one or two ‘main grade’
staff from police and probation, and one or two representatives from any other agency
invited to attend.

The cost of producing this annual report is approximately 110 hours of probation and police
middle management time, 6 hours of senior management time and approx £2000 in print
costs.

12
8. CONTACT DETAILS FOR KEY AGENCIES INVOLVED
IN MAPPP MEETINGS
Chief Constable Northumbria Police
Force Headquarters, Ponteland, Newcastle, NE20 0BL.

Chief Officer National Probation Service – Northumbria Area


Lifton House, Eslington Road, Jesmond, Newcastle, NE2 4SP.

Northumbria Probation Area 6th Floor, Collingwood House, Collingwood Street, Newcastle, NE1 1JW.
Victim Liaison Unit

Victim Support
- Castle Morpeth 01670 510259 - Heaton 0191 2764080
- Gateshead 0191 4778395 - Cowgate 0191 2140306
- Newcastle 0191 2744274 - North Northumberland 01665 602863

Chief Executive Chief Executive Director of Social Services


Gateshead MBC Newcastle City Council (Designate)
Regent Street Civic Centre North Tyneside Council
Gateshead Newcastle upon Tyne Town Hall
NE8 1HH NE99 2BN High Street East
Wallsend
NE28 7RU

Chief Executive Chief Executive Chief Executive


South Tyneside Council Northumberland County Council City of Sunderland
Town Hall County Hall Civic Centre
Westoe Road Morpeth PO Box 100
South Shields Northumberland Sunderland
NE33 2RL NE61 2EF SR2 7DN

Chief Executive Chief Executive Chief Executive


Blyth District Council Tynedale Council Wansbeck District Council
Avenue Road Hexham The Town Hall
Seaton Delaval Northumberland Ashington
NE25 0DX NE46 2NH Northumberland
NE63 8RX

Chief Executive Chief Executive Chief Executive


Castle Morpeth Council Alnwick Borough Council Berwick upon Tweed Council
The Kylins Alnwick Council Offices
Loansdean Northumberland Wallace Green
Morpeth NE66 1YY Berwick upon Tweed
NE61 2EQ TD1 1DC

Chief Executive Chief Executive Establishment Standards/


South of Tyne and Wearside Newcastle, North Tyneside Public Protection Governor
Mental Health Trust and Northumberland HM Prison Acklington
Wellfield Mews Mental Health Trust Acklington
Cherry Knowle Hospital St George’s Hospital Morpeth
Ryhope Morpeth Northumberland
Sunderland Northumberland NE65 9XG
SR2 0NB NE61 2NU

Resettlement Manager
HMYOI Castington
Acklington
Morpeth
Northumberland
NE65 9XG

13