Probation Circular


This Circular: • Indicates that a list of PPOs currently on J-Track will now be sent regularly to all Areas, using the information systems contacts attached at Annex A. Corrections to the list should be sent to Corinna Griggs. • Gives guidance on enforcement issues which have arisen concerning drug testing of PPOs on licence • Amends the regime for testing, for PPOs who give consistent negative tests • Requires all Areas to give details of at least one drug-testing site for a quality assurance study, by Friday 15 September 2006 • Highlights the availability of swift enforcement for PPOs subject to electronic monitoring • Reminds Areas of the policy position regarding the naming of PPOs in PSRs

REFERENCE NO: 30/2006 ISSUE DATE: 18 August 2006 IMPLEMENTATION DATE: 1 September 2006 EXPIRY DATE: September 2009 TO: Chairs of Probation Boards Chief Officers of Probation Secretaries of Probation Boards CC: Board Treasurers Regional Managers AUTHORISED BY: Claire Wiggins, Head of Intensive Interventions ATTACHED: Annex A – Questions and Answers on Drug Testing Annex B – Advice from the Forensic Science Service Annex C – Names of NPS Information Managers Annex D – EM Contract - areas and their corresponding criminal justice areas

Chief Officers are requested • To disseminate this information to relevant staff • To ensure that the list of contacts is up to date so that the J-Track list reaches the right people • To put in place a system for checking the Area database against JTrack to ensure that the Area database is accurate and appropriate amendments supplied to update J-Track • To supply details of a testing site for the quality assurance study

PC41/04, PC51/04, PC13/05, PC33A/05, PC34/05, PC79/05

CONTACT FOR ENQUIRIES or 020 7217 0916 Details of the drug-testing site for quality assurance should be sent to (020 7217 0760) Queries relating to electronic monitoring should be directed to or 020 7035 4830

National Probation Directorate
Abell House, John Islip Street, London, SW1P 4LH


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



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. 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).



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.


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. 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. Costs of the study (other than the staff time involved in testing the samples, etc) will be borne by NPD. A number of Areas have already volunteered test sites. There is no requirement on these to furnish more.


4.3 4.4


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)



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.


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. 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 2

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

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



Annex A

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. 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 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). 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. 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

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

Annex D EM CONTRACT AREAS AND THEIR CORRESPONDING CRIMINAL JUSTICE AREAS EM Contract Area NORTH EAST AND NORTH WEST (G4S) Group 4 Securicor (G4S) Director: Paul Moonan PO Box 170 Urmston Manchester M41 7XZ Criminal Justice Areas Covered Cheshire Cleveland Cumbria Durham Greater Manchester Lancashire Merseyside Northumbria Derbyshire Humberside Leicestershire Lincolnshire North Yorkshire Northamptonshire Nottinghamshire South Yorkshire West Yorkshire Avon and Somerset Devon and Cornwall Dorset Gloucestershire Hampshire Kent Surrey Sussex Thames Valley Wiltshire Serco Monitoring Director: Terry Harris PO Box 45 Norwich NR3 1BF Tel: Fax: West Midlands & Wales 08080 152369 West Midlands & Wales 08700 700321 Dyfed-Powys Gwent North Wales South Wales Staffordshire Warwickshire West Mercia West Midlands

Tel: 0161 862 1207 EAST MIDLANDS, YORKSHIRE Fax: 0161 749 8358 AND HUMBERSIDE (G4S)




LONDON AND EASTERN Tel: (SERCO) Fax: London & Eastern 08700 700321 London & East Anglia 08080 965124

Bedfordshire Cambridgeshire Essex Hertfordshire Metropolitan Norfolk Suffolk