Contacts

Northamptonshire Probation Area Address National Probation Service (Northamptonshire Area) 43-47 Bridge Street Northampton, NN1 1NS Phone 01604 658082

Assistant Chief Officer

Senior Probation Officer and MAPPP Manager

National Probation Service (Northamptonshire Area) 43-47 Bridge Street Northampton, NN1 1NS

01604 658065

Northamptonshire Police

Address

Phone

Detective Chief Superintendent

Northamptonshire Police Headquarters, 01604 700700 Wootton Hall, Northampton, NN1 0JQ

Detective Chief Inspector

Northamptonshire Police Headquarters, 01604 888535 Wootton Hall, Northampton, NN1 0JQ

Northampton Victim Support Scheme

Address Northampton Victim Support Scheme Angel Street Northampton NN1 1ED

Phone 01604 603477

County Director

Northamptonshire
MAPPA Annual Report 2002

1. Introduction
The Northamptonshire Public Protection Panel was established in October 2000. The panel built on local arrangements that were first initiated in response to the Sex Offenders Act (1997). This involved collaborative arrangements, set out in a joint protocol, between the Police and Probation Services to jointly monitor and reduce the risk posed by registered sex offenders. The Public Protection Panel widened the remit of this close working relationship to include monitoring and management of potentially dangerous offenders. In recognition of their important role and contribution, the Public Protection Panel drew in other agencies including housing, mental health and social services. Since then, the Panel has built on these initial arrangements and, in accordance with the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000, the Public Protection Panel became the Multi Agency Public Protection Panel (MAPPP). All relevant local agencies have the opportunity to assist with the management of dangerous people on a planned basis. This delivers effective liaison between agencies, the sharing of specialist expertise and an informed and open approach towards the management of individuals who potentially place the community ‘at risk’.

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2. Summary of Roles and Responsibilities
This year has seen a significant increase in the number of agencies regularly involved with the Panel. To begin with, the initial panel ‘core’ membership comprised representatives from the Police, Probation and Prison Servi ce, but has since been extended to include Local Authority Housing, the Forensic Psychiatric Service, the Youth Offending Team and Social Care and Health. ‘Social Care and Health’ includes social services representatives from both Mental Health and Children’s Services. The Probation Service ‘High Risk’ Team supervises both sexual and violent offenders and all registered MAPPP cases are contained within the team’s caseload. The Team Manager is a member of the panel. The Manager of the Probation hostel is also a panel member, this allows for the joint management of dangerous offenders placed at the hostel as well as easing panel access to this resource. The Police are represented by a Detective Constable responsible for overseeing all sex offenders subject to registration and a Detective Sergeant from ‘Force Intelligence’ at Police Headquarters. Both assist with the listing of appropriate cases for MAPPP discussion and provide vital information from local and national records. There is a close working relationship between Police and Probation staff that has extended to joint home visits to offenders subject to sex offender registration. The Governor of HMP Wellingborough is the Prison Service representative. Many of the cases for MAPPP discussion are coming to the end of a custodial sentence, sometimes at HMP Wellingborough, and he is able to advise on issues such as the individual’s behaviour in custody, prison procedure and any other matters relating to the Prison Service. On occasions other representatives from the Prison Service who have close personal knowledge of an offender also attend to discuss individual cases. Northamptonshire has seven Borough Councils, each with its own Housing Department. A representative of Northampton Borough Council attends the panel meetings to provide information and advice on housing matters. It is important that offenders who present a potential danger to the public are safely housed in locations where they can be effectively supervised and, on occasions, placed under surveillance. A representative from the County’s Forensic Psychiatric Service attends the panel to give advice on Mental Health issues together with information on the availability of specialist resources in the Northamptonshire area. Social Care and Health have two panel memebers, the first being a manager who represents the Community Mental Health Teams. This Manager is able to share information on Offenders with current mental health problems and assist with work co-ordination. Social Care and Health have recently nominated a panel member from childrens services. This panel member holds core responsibility for registration and conferencing of children at risk and it is anticipated that this development will significantly enhance the work of the panel.

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3. Outline of Arrangements Made
There is a co-ordinated structure, covering Northamptonshire, for the assessment and integrated risk management of sexual and violent offenders with the ultimate aim of securing public protection. In addition to the p rotocol in relation to the MAPPP, this structure includes the Prison Service, Housing and Employment Services and the Area Child Protection Committee. In accordance with Prison Circular 45/95, the Prison Service identify all offenders within the prison system who have ever been convicted of an offence against a child under the age of 18. The Probation Service, Review and Conference Service and Area Social Care and Health Teams are, as a matter of course, notified of a prisoner’s transfer to another institution and of his/her pending release date. This enables release addresses to be checked to ensure the protection of children. A housing protocol for very high risk offenders is being developed and promoted through the Crime and Disorder partnership in the seven local authority areas. Clearly appropriate and settled accommodation is central to the surveillance and risk management of such offenders and this year the

panel have experienced difficulties in securing accommodation for some MAPPP cases whose previous convictions (e.g. sexual and violent) have made them extremely difficult to place. It is hoped that continued negotiation will persuade all seven areas of the merits of a co-ordinated approach to this shared problem and that all will sign up to the housing protocol. The Probation Service also has a protocol with the Employment Service which is notified in advance when anyone convicted of a sexual offence is due to be released from custody. This ensures that those offenders who seek assistance through the Employment Service are directed to appropriate work locations that exclude contact with children. All registered sex offenders, within Northamptonshire, are assessed by the Police Force Intelligence using the approved Thornton’s Risk Matrix 2000 assessment tool. As part of this process, direct contact is made with offenders and information is sought from all agencies. Sex Offenders assessed as high risk are referred to the MAPPP. In relation to violent offenders, all those sentenced to imprisonment terms of 12 months or more, are released subject to licence and are supervised by the Probation Service. These offenders are risk assessed using Probation Service risk assessment tools, the current tools

are due to be replaced in summer 2002, by the introduction of the new National Probation Service Offender Assessment System (OASys). A specially trained Probation Officer from the ‘High Risk’ Team supervises those offenders assessed as presenting a high risk of harm. In consultation with the Team Manager, a risk management plan will be developed and a decision taken as to referral to the MAPPP. The Police and any other agency, including those working with mentally disordered offenders, are able to refer to the MAPPP with referrals made via the line manager for each agency to the chair of the MAPPP. In circumstances where an individual is considered to be dangerous, the referring worker is required to produce a report on that individual which is circulated a week in advance of the panel hearing. The report author is required to attend the MAPPP. The venue for each MAPPP meeting alternates between the Probation Service and Police Headquarters and both organisations undertake administrative responsibilities. The responsibility for chairing meetings is shared between the Police and Probation Service and this year the task has been undertaken by the Probation Service at Assistant Chief Officer level. In the interests of consistency and objectivity, each MAPPP meeting follows a standard agenda. The MAPPP meets once per month, with in general two to three new cases considered each

time, each is subject to a discussion of approximately one to one and half hours. Where a decision is made to register, the panel then develops a risk management plan and designates a lead agency to implement the plan. Individuals who have been registered with the MAPPP are informed of their registration unless there are clear reasons not to do so. Registered cases are regularly reviewed to ensure that decisions are implemented and to take account of changed circumstances. Each case review includes a review of the need for continued registration. Each MAPPP discussion is minuted in full. The MAPPP minutes are clearly designated as highly confidential however information is shared with parties not attending MAPPP meetings when this is necessary to secure the protection of the public. Sometimes the Police and Probation Services receive very short notice that a potentially dangerous offender is due to be released or the risk presented by an individual in contact with one of the relevant agencies suddenly escalates. In these circumstances, if a MAPPP meeting is not imminent, an emergency ‘strategy meeting’ is called which is, in effect, an impromptu MAPPP meeting with all the participating agencies involved. This year there have been five such meetings arranged by the Police and Probation Service.

4. Strategic Management Arrangements
In Northamptonshire a strategic management group, known locally as the MAPPP Executive Committee was formed in response to the CJ and CS Act 2000. The group has agreed to meet four times per year to address strategic issues surrounding the operation of the MAPPP. In it’s first year the committee designated the Assistant Chief Probation Officer as committee chair. This responsibility will rotate next year to the Police, Detective Chief Superintendent. Other members of the group include from the Health Service the Chief Executive of Northampton Primary Care Trust. From Social Care and Health, the County Manager of Children’s Services and also the Head of Mental Health Services. The Chief Housing Officer from Northampton Borough Council (representing the County Chief Housing Officers Group) the County Manager of the Youth Offending Team and from the Prison Service, a Prison Governor. All members of the Executive Committee have working responsibilities for areas relevant to the MAPPP and all have made a commitment to supporting the practitioner led MAPPP through joint funding arrangements and the provision of resources.

5. Disclosure
In reducing the risk presented by individuals, the MAPPP can disclose information and make notifications to individuals, groups or sections of the community if this is determined to be proportional and can be justified. Notifications to the wider community are only made where there is a pressing need and each decision must balance the likelihood of harm occurring in one location against the risk of an offender “going to ground” and creating victims in another location. The following are examples from the past year where the MAPPP have deemed the disclosure of information necessary. 1. An offender was referred to the MAPPP following an alleged serious assault against his partner. His partner and children were placed in a refuge and the offender was arrested and remanded into custody. There was however, serious concern about the possibility of an application for bail and the risk presented by the offender, to other family members should he attempt to coerce them into revealing his partner’s whereabouts. It was decided that it was not possible to remove such an extensive group of people to a safe environment and that in order to protect the public, the offenders continued remand in custody was necessary. To this end, the MAPPP disclosed information on the offender’s previous offending and modus operendi to the Crown Prosecution Service and a further remand in custody was sought and imposed. 2. An offender with two previous convictions for rape informed his supervising Probation Officer that he had established a relationship with a new partner. A former partner had been a previous victim raising concerns about the safety of his new partner. The panel decided that his partner should be made aware of his offending history. The offender was instructed to disclose this information. The Probation Officer then interviewed his partner and ensured that she was fully aware of both offences and the risk to herself. Since then, the subject and his partner have maintained their relationship and this has been the subject of close scrutiny the Probation Officer. 3. An offender with a record of sexual offences against male children obtained employment at a local supermarket. As his position meant interacting with the public, the panel felt that this job presented an unacceptable level of risk to children and decided that the supermarket manager should be informed. This was done and the offender was very quickly dismissed. He was supported in obtaining appropriate employment, which was vetted to ensure that he would not have contact with children.

6. Victims Work
Section 69 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 places a statutory duty on the National Probation Service, Northamptonshire to contact victims and ask if they wish to be consulted about the release arrangements for violent and sexual offenders sentenced to 12 months in prison or more. Specialist staff (Victim Contact Officers) are based in two locations, north and south of the county, and deal exclusively with the victims of crime for whom the Probation Service has a statutory responsibility. The Victim Contact Officers make extensive efforts to locate victims whom they then

approach in a manner that respects their wish to be consulted in the management of the offender. Where a victim chooses to be consulted, the Victim Contact Officer will arrange to meet them at a time and place convenient to them. This is usually at the home of the victim(s). Victims are entitled to be kept informed of the release arrangements for the offenders, the month and general location, and details of any licence conditions that restrict the offender’s movements and the reduce the impact on the victim. 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 the Witness Service, based in every criminal court in England and Wales, to offer assistance before, during and after a trial. You can also call the Victim Supportline - 0845 30 30 900 – for information and support and details of local services and other relevant organisations. The details of the Northampton Victim Support scheme and other relevant agencies are listed on the contacts page of this report.