Northumbria Area

Arrangements for managing high risk and dangerous offenders in Northumbria

Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) Annual Report 2002


























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.

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).


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.


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.

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


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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.


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.

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


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.

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.


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.


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.

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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.

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.


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.


i. The number of Registered Sex Offenders (RSOs) in the community on 31st March 2002 The number of RSOs per 100,000 population in Northumbria ii. The number of sex offenders cautioned/ convicted for breaches of registration requirement between 1 April 2001 and 31 March 2002 iii. The number of Sex Offender Orders between 1 April 2001 and 31 March 2002 (a) total applied for (b) granted (c) not granted (d) applications still in progress 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, (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 risk of harm to the public (but who did not fall within either of the two categories immediately above). 6 6 0 1 553






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.


Chief Constable Chief Officer Northumbria Probation Area Victim Liaison Unit Victim Support - Castle Morpeth - Gateshead - Newcastle Chief Executive Gateshead MBC Regent Street Gateshead NE8 1HH Northumbria Police Force Headquarters, Ponteland, Newcastle, NE20 0BL. National Probation Service – Northumbria Area Lifton House, Eslington Road, Jesmond, Newcastle, NE2 4SP. 6th Floor, Collingwood House, Collingwood Street, Newcastle, NE1 1JW.

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Chief Executive South Tyneside Council Town Hall Westoe Road South Shields NE33 2RL Chief Executive Blyth District Council Avenue Road Seaton Delaval NE25 0DX Chief Executive Castle Morpeth Council The Kylins Loansdean Morpeth NE61 2EQ Chief Executive South of Tyne and Wearside Mental Health Trust Wellfield Mews Cherry Knowle Hospital Ryhope Sunderland SR2 0NB Resettlement Manager HMYOI Castington Acklington Morpeth Northumberland NE65 9XG

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