You are on page 1of 8

Probation

Circular
UNCLASSIFIED

FURTHER GUIDANCE ON PROLIFIC AND


OTHER PRIORITY OFFENDERS (PPO’S) REFERENCE NO:
30/2006
PURPOSE
ISSUE DATE:
This Circular:
• Indicates that a list of PPOs currently on J-Track will now be sent 18 August 2006
regularly to all Areas, using the information systems contacts
IMPLEMENTATION DATE:
attached at Annex A. Corrections to the list should be sent to Corinna
1 September 2006
Griggs.
• Gives guidance on enforcement issues which have arisen concerning
EXPIRY DATE:
drug testing of PPOs on licence
September 2009
• Amends the regime for testing, for PPOs who give consistent
negative tests
TO:
• Requires all Areas to give details of at least one drug-testing site for
Chairs of Probation Boards
a quality assurance study, by Friday 15 September 2006
Chief Officers of Probation
• Highlights the availability of swift enforcement for PPOs subject to
Secretaries of Probation Boards
electronic monitoring
• Reminds Areas of the policy position regarding the naming of PPOs in
CC:
PSRs
Board Treasurers
Regional Managers
ACTION
Chief Officers are requested
AUTHORISED BY:
• To disseminate this information to relevant staff
Claire Wiggins,
• To ensure that the list of contacts is up to date so that the J-Track list
Head of Intensive Interventions
reaches the right people
• To put in place a system for checking the Area database against J-
ATTACHED:
Track to ensure that the Area database is accurate and appropriate
Annex A – Questions and
amendments supplied to update J-Track Answers on Drug Testing
• To supply details of a testing site for the quality assurance study
Annex B – Advice from the
RELEVANT PREVIOUS PROBATION CIRCULARS Forensic Science Service
PC41/04, PC51/04, PC13/05, PC33A/05, PC34/05, PC79/05
Annex C – Names of NPS
Information Managers
CONTACT FOR ENQUIRIES
robin.brennan@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk or 020 7217 0916
Annex D – EM Contract - areas
and their corresponding criminal
Details of the drug-testing site for quality assurance should be sent to justice areas
corinna.griggs2@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk (020 7217 0760)

Queries relating to electronic monitoring should be directed to


barry.snelgrove@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk or 020 7035 4830 UNCLASSIFIED

National Probation Directorate


Abell House, John Islip Street, London, SW1P 4LH
UNCLASSIFIED

1. J-TRACK

1.1 J-Track is the web-based information system which contains details of currently-registered PPOs and their status.
Many Areas now have systems in place, either through co-location of staff or otherwise, to ensure that decisions
made to define offenders as PPOs are recorded promptly on J-Track. Other Areas, however, are not receiving
regular copies of or access to J-Track, resulting in a mismatch between offenders recorded on the Area database,
and those recorded on J-Track. This Circular is intended therefore to plug this gap.

1.2 Corrections to the list of information contacts at Annex C should be sent to Corinna Griggs.

2. RESPONSE TO QUERIES ON DRUG TESTING

2.1 The regime for PPOs on licence who meet the criteria for drug testing is set out in PC34/05. Questions and
answers on the detail of drug testing are set out in Annex A.

2.2 The Forensic Science Service has supplied some guidance on cases where an offender tests positive with one
method of testing and negative with another. This is attached (Annex B).

3. OFFENDERS WHO CONSISTENTLY GIVE NEGATIVE TESTS

3.1 PC34/05 indicated that PPOs should be tested twice a week for the first 16 weeks and once a week thereafter.
This remains appropriate for offenders on shorter licences and for those who have given positive tests and are in
treatment. There will be cases however where PPOs are on longer licences and give consistently negative tests.
Testing once a week for this group may not be the best use of scarce resources. PC34 permits offender
managers to apply to the governor of the releasing prison, or to the Parole Board via Release and Recall Section,
to have a condition deleted if it is no longer serving a useful purpose. This should be the case if an offender no
longer meets the criteria: for example, if he or she is removed from the PPO list. For offenders who have given
negative tests for six months, offender managers are now permitted to reduce testing to monthly, the timing of
the test being at the offender manager’s discretion to minimise the risk that an offender will tailor renewed drug
use to avoid giving a positive test.

4. QUALITY ASSURANCE OF DRUG TESTING

4.1 The guidance for the drug-testing of PPOs did not, on cost grounds, require a percentage of samples to be sent
for confirmatory analysis. NPD has now commissioned a quality assurance study to give an indication of the
accuracy of current testing. In the interests of national consistency all Areas are asked to supply test sites,
whatever the local arrangements for carrying out tests. Areas wishing to put forward Approved Premises as test
sites are at liberty to do so.

4.2 NPD’s contractor, Tackler Analytical, will send two samples of oral fluid to each test site, which will then test them
as if they had just been taken from an offender. Results of the tests will be emailed back to Tackler, which will
produce a report. This will be shared with Areas.

4.3 Costs of the study (other than the staff time involved in testing the samples, etc) will be borne by NPD.

4.4 A number of Areas have already volunteered test sites. There is no requirement on these to furnish more.

5. ELECTRONIC MONITORING OF PPOS

5.1 Areas are reminded of the availability of electronic monitoring to sustain a curfew as a restrictive requirement of a
community sentence. PPOs may well be suitable for an intensive community order (i.e. three or more

PC30/2006 – Further Guidance on Prolific and Other Priority Offenders (PPOs) 2


UNCLASSIFIED
UNCLASSIFIED

requirements) 1 and Areas were encouraged (PC33A/05) to consider these in appropriate cases. The contracts
make provision for speedier information exchange about compliance where the monitoring company is made
aware of PPO (or of MAPPA) status, without the need to go via the Home Office electronic monitoring team. 2
Where the requirement is breached, offender managers may make expedited applications to courts for
enforcement (PC 13/05). Areas are further reminded that in cases where there is a high risk of reoffending (such
as PPOs), applications can be made for warrants, bypassing the normal requirement to apply for a summons in
the first instance.

5.2 Areas are also reminded that the electronic monitoring suppliers are not always informed immediately by courts or
police that an offender has PPO status. Suggested good practice is for the offender manager to inform the
relevant supplier as soon as possible after sentencing to ensure timely identification of a PPO. Contact details for
Serco and G4S are provided at Annex D.

6. NAMING PPOS IN PSRS

6.1 PC33A of 2005 made clear that PSR authors should not refer to an offender as a PPO or use the term ‘prolific
offender scheme’, in light of advice from Lord Justice Thomas. A recent quality assurance sampling exercise
suggested that some probation officers are not following this. Areas are reminded therefore that this remains the
policy.

6.2 Findings from the quality assurance exercise will be made available in September to the lead ACOs for PPOs and
to the PPO National Reference Group.

1
A DRR will normally be considered for drug-using PPOs committing acquisitive offences
2
PC 23c/06, p. 38

PC30/2006 – Further Guidance on Prolific and Other Priority Offenders (PPOs) 3


UNCLASSIFIED
Annex A

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON DRUG TESTING

Is it necessary to have a warning letter after a positive test?

A.1 Where an offender tests positive on a ‘one-off’ basis and admits drug use, it is
sufficient to record the fact of the positive test on the case record. Asking the
offender to sign an admission that he or she tested positive is good practice in that it
provides some evidence in case of subsequent dispute.

A.2 Where an offender is at risk of recall, for example having given a second positive test,
or a positive test where recall has been put on hold because he is complying with
treatment, then a warning letter is appropriate. Given that the sanction for a further
positive test will be imprisonment, a warning letter from the ACO (or equivalent)
should be the norm.

Is it necessary to retain samples of oral fluid?

A.3 This should not be necessary under any circumstances. If an offender agrees that
the test is positive then that fact should be recorded. If he denies drug use, the
sample should be sent for confirmatory analysis in a laboratory and that result used
rather than the point-of-contact screening. Obviously an offender may subsequently
deny that a test was positive having admitted it at the time but it is not sensible or
practical to keep samples against this event

A.4 There have been cases of an offender testing positive with one make of oral-fluid test
and negative with another, or with a urine test. This is scientifically possible and does
not mean that the first test was ‘wrong’. NPD has received advice on this from the
Forensic Science Service (Annex B).

A.5 The proper course with a disputed test is to send it for laboratory analysis. Areas
should avoid ‘checking’ the result with a different system, since oral-fluid test kits from
different manufacturers use different cut-off points. An offender may need a higher
concentration of a drug in oral fluid with ‘Manufacturer A’ to give rise to a positive test
than will be the case with ‘Manufacturer B’. A negative result with A does not make
B’s result invalid.

A.6 If the offender continues to dispute a positive test in the face of laboratory
confirmation, Areas should nonetheless rely on the laboratory result, calling an expert
witness if required.

If an offender admits to having taken a class A drug, is it acceptable to have a


signature instead of carrying out a test?

A.7 A test should still be carried out because:

• The offender may deny taking drugs later


• The offender may deny understanding what he was signing
• The offender may believe he has taken one drug but has actually taken
something else (if the supplier has deceived him)
• We cannot get a true picture of how many offenders we are testing, how
many times, if we rely on the offender's word to constitute a 'test' where this
would be positive.

Does Release and Recall Section need to be consulted if an offender is testing positive
but is in treatment, and recall is therefore suspended?

A.8 Release and Recall do not need to be informed where an offender is not being
recalled. It is the responsibility of the Area to make a defensible decision.

What if an offender tests positive repeatedly over time?

A.9 Repeated positive tests over a period may be an indication that treatment is not
working. Offender managers will need to consider the appropriateness, in all the
circumstances – further offending; missed appointments, etc – of an offender
remaining at liberty. Public protection will be the paramount consideration.

Is it necessary to send any tests for laboratory analysis if the offender always admits
they are positive?

A.10 If the positive tests are to be relied on for recall purposes, that is when recall is
imminent, and particularly if positive tests are the sole reason for recall, a
confirmatory test should be carried out. This provides firm evidence in the event of
an offender subsequently denying that he has taken drugs.
Annex B

ADVICE FROM THE FORENSIC SCIENCE SERVICE

Urine and oral fluid can not be directly compared for several reasons:

• Saliva is the predominate component of oral fluid. Saliva drug concentrations


depend on plasma drug concentrations
• Urine drug concentration is dependent on various factors including renal
clearance, urinary flow rate and the degree of metabolism

It is unlikely that an oral fluid sample and a urine sample from the same individual
would give similar results if they were collected at exactly the same time.

The substance must pass through various metabolic processes before it reaches the
urine and is excreted, hence there is a time lapse before it will be detected in the
urine.

The concentration of a substance in the urine is changeable depending on how dilute


or concentrated the urine.

One of the reasons oral fluid testing is more popular than urine is not only because it
is less invasive, but the collection can be monitored which reduces the possibility of
substitution or adulteration, also urine can be greatly diluted by drinking copious
amounts of fluid before collection of the sample. This is why urine is usually
subjected to dilution and adulteration tests.

Metabolism will be individual to the donor, but generally it is expected that levels will
peak in the saliva before they peak in the urine. This is due to the metabolic
processing of the substance to prepare it for excretion in the urine. Concentrations
can be reduced in the urine with increased fluid intake.

The cut-offs of the two screening methods may not be comparable; similarly the
sensitivity and cross-reactivity may not be comparable. Conventionally the cut-off for
urine analysis is set significantly higher than for oral fluid analysis. Hence it is
possible that the substance could be present in the urine, but not at a high enough
concentration to trigger the cut-off threshold. The screening method often used to
analyse the urine is a simple dipstick that is visually assessed by the operator, to
ascertain negative or positive, which can be down to personal opinion for borderline
results and could be open to misinterpretation or bias.

Finally, it should be noted that both screening methods are only for preliminary
indication purposes and require a confirmation process, preferably utilizing gas
chromatography-mass spectrometry which is the industry ‘gold standard’ and
identifies and quantifies the compounds of interest if they are present.
Annex C

Below are the names of all NPS Information Managers whom J-Track info will be sent to.
Corrections to this list are to be sent to corinna.griggs2@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk:

Mike Hook Avon & Somerset


Andy Brown Bedfordshire
Chris Pereira Cambridgeshire
Eileen Vernon Cheshire
Helen Vitty County Durham
David Williams County Durham
Simon Fairgrieve County Durham
Christine Cleminson Cumbria
Michael Slade Derbyshire
Mark Overend Devon & Cornwall
Julian Kohn Dorset
Wayne Pritchard Dyfed-Powys
Bill Thompson Essex
Tim Fogarty Gloucestershire
Phil Kelly Greater Manchester
Tony Clarke Gwent
Anthony Davies Gwent
John Hacker Hampshire
Carol Cann Hertfordshire
Lucy Spencer Hertfordshire
Ian Razzell Humberside
Roz Fenwick Humberside
Christine Down Kent
Mark Allsop Lancashire
Paul Kennedy Leics & Rutland
Nigel Smith Lincolnshire
Steve Simmonds London
Kath Smith Merseyside
Andrew Wright Norfolk
Simon Roberts North Wales
Mark Richards North Yorkshire
Gill Walker Northamptonshire
Phil Stafford Northumbria
Derek Henderson Nottinghamshire
Pui-Shan Tang Nottinghamshire
Carla Prestwich Nottinghamshire
Sheila West South Wales
Ian Menary South Yorkshire
Phil Massey Staffordshire
Glyn Jones Suffolk
Kevin Thomas Surrey
Valerie Ainscough Sussex
Roy Lorenzen Teesside
Michelle Aulton Thames Valley
Kevin Goodyear Warwickshire
Jeff Jones West Mercia
Robina Gaze West Midlands
Janet Thornton West Yorkshire
Barrie Higgins Wiltshire
Annex D

EM CONTRACT AREAS AND THEIR CORRESPONDING CRIMINAL JUSTICE AREAS

EM Contract Area Criminal Justice Areas


Covered
NORTH EAST AND NORTH Cheshire
Group 4 Securicor (G4S)
WEST Cleveland
Director: Paul Moonan
Cumbria
(G4S) PO Box 170 Durham
Urmston Greater Manchester
Manchester Lancashire
M41 7XZ Merseyside
Tel: 0161 862 1207 Northumbria
EAST MIDLANDS, YORKSHIRE Fax: 0161 749 8358 Derbyshire
AND HUMBERSIDE Humberside
Leicestershire
(G4S) Lincolnshire
North Yorkshire
Northamptonshire
Nottinghamshire
South Yorkshire
West Yorkshire
SOUTH EAST AND SOUTH Avon and Somerset
WEST Devon and Cornwall
Dorset
(G4S) Gloucestershire
Hampshire
Kent
Surrey
Sussex
Thames Valley
Wiltshire
WEST MIDLANDS AND WALES
Serco Monitoring Dyfed-Powys
Director: Terry Harris Gwent
PO Box 45 North Wales
(SERCO)
Norwich South Wales
NR3 1BF Staffordshire
Warwickshire
Tel: West Midlands & Wales 08080 152369
West Mercia
Fax: West Midlands & Wales 08700 700321 West Midlands

LONDON AND EASTERN Bedfordshire


Tel: London & East Anglia 08080 965124 Cambridgeshire
(SERCO) Essex
Hertfordshire
Fax: London & Eastern 08700 700321 Metropolitan
Norfolk
Suffolk

Related Interests