MAPPA Annual Report 2002

1. Introduction
Local arrangements for risk management on Merseyside began to evolve significantly from the mid 1990s, when the Police and Probation Services established a closer working relationship to manage offenders who caused the most concern in terms of risk to the public. This led to an agreed protocol between the two Services, to share information and intelligence on those few cases that were seen as potentially dangerous. This working partnership led to Multi-Agency Risk Panels, now re-named Multi-Agency Public Protection Panels (MAPPPS), being established throughout the Merseyside area. This reflected the development of inter-agency working among key criminal justice agencies, to establish a more proactive and inclusive approach to the victims of serious crime. The official launch of Multi-Agency Risk Panels was carried out by the then Home Secretary, the Rt. Hon. Jack Straw MP, a move which received support in Government at the highest level and led to associated provisions in the Criminal Justice and Court Service Act 2000. The 1997 Sex Offenders Act was a further incentive for the Police and Probation Services jointly to risk assess offenders. In Merseyside we have built on these arrangements, and risk assessments are now undertaken by MAPPPS with participation from a wide range of agencies across the area. These include prisons, youth offending teams, victim support, social services, health, housing and education. This report will provide further details on the arrangements made in Merseyside, and give a contact point for any additional enquiries.

2. Summary of Roles and Responsibilities
The Merseyside area comprises five local authorities – Sefton, Wirral, St Helens, Knowsley and Liverpool. Each of these districts has arrangements in place for MultiAgency Public Protection Panels in their locality. Each MAPPP is usually chaired by a senior representative from the Probation Service or the Police, these organisations taking lead responsibility in local arrangements. An agreed area-wide protocol sets out the guidelines under which each MAPPP is convened and administered. This serves as a template, which may be amended locally as required. As stated in the introduction, a range of agencies may be brought together under MAPPP arrangements. Recognising that better public protection can only be achieved through collaborative arrangements, the Police and Probation Services work alongside other agencies, services and authorities, where input can greatly assist the overall process. Most regular contributors are: Social Services The five Social Services Departments in Merseyside offer services to vulnerable groups, both adults and children. These include working with children in need, their families, older people, disabled people and those with mental health needs. Social Services have an established history of leading on Child Protection issues, via interagency arrangements. Housing Departments and Voluntary Sector Housing Associations Merseyside have well established accommodation providers offering a wide range of facilities, from high supervision/support to totally independent living. Stable accommodation is regarded as having a direct link to reducing risks. A specialist mental health service concentrating on criminal behaviour and offering treatment via residential and outpatient facilities, in addition to staffing Magistrates Courts to give immediate assessments and advice on bail arrangements/sentences. MAPPP meetings are well attended, not least by senior agency representatives with authority to approve action and allocate resources. A MAPPP can be requested by any agency. The work of MAPPPS across Merseyside is overseen by a Strategic Management Group, with multi-agency representation. Section 4 of this report elaborates upon these strategic management arrangements. Merseyside Forensic Psychiatric Service

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3. Outline of the Arrangements Made
In addition to day-to-day collaboration between the relevant agencies, Merseyside has developed multi-agency arrangements for the assessment and management of sexual, violent and other dangerous offenders. Whenever it is considered that a joint or multi-agency approach would improve public protection, the police and probation services (and any other relevant agency) share information about the offender, and make joint plans to manage the risk the offender poses. Multi-Agency Public Protection Panels are convened only for the relatively few dangerous offenders who are in the community, or are returning to the community after serving a custodial sentence. During the year about 80 individuals qualified for such action for the first time, which is about 1% of the Probation Service caseload at any one time. MAPPP meetings are used to share information and to check facts before a full risk assessment is made and action plan agreed. All such meetings are co-ordinated via a single Area register, ie. as a Potentially Dangerous Person. In addition to inter-agency meetings, all such cases are subject to internal reviews by middle and senior managers in the probation Service.

Whilst public protection is the overriding priority, action plans have to be reasonable and proportionate to the perceived risk, in accordance with the Human Rights Act. Any arrangements administered under the action plan must also be free of discrimination. MAPPP meetings are fully recorded and minutes are circulated to the agencies present as strictly confidential. MAPPP meetings conclude with a summary of the agreed action points. These are then reviewed at regular intervals (usually every three months), although any agency involved can

request an emergency MAPPP at any time should circumstances change. Participating agencies are held closely to account for tasks to be carried out under the agreed action plan, and liaise as appropriate between meetings to ensure effective implementation. Supervision by the Probation Service is demanding and follows a strict regime. In addition to the routine requirements of a Community Order or Prison Licence, many offenders are also required to attend a specific offence-based programme as part of their supervision. These nationally accredited programmes require a

high standard of delivery, and compulsory attendance. Conditions are rigorously enforced, and any breach can result in an immediate return to court or custody. Occasionally, an offender will be the subject of a MAPPP even though they are not under statutory supervision. These tend to be offenders who have had previous convictions of a serious nature and have not re-offended, but whose recent behaviour has given cause for concern, sufficient to instigate MAPPP proceedings.

4. Strategic Management Arrangements
All areas now have in place a Strategic Management Group, meeting on a quarterly basis, to oversee local MAPPP arrangements. While this group does not look at individual cases, it monitors and revises local practice using previous experience as a guide. The Group will draft the annual report for the area and seek to improve local practice in the light of experience, not least in adopting the best working protocol for agencies to share appropriate information. Merseyside’s Strategic Management Group is led jointly by an Assistant Chief Probation Officer and a senior representative from Merseyside Police. The group’s aim is to ensure that only best practice operates in the Merseyside area. Membership of the Merseyside Group is made up of the following agencies/organisations (others may be added as the group develops): ♦ Merseyside Police ♦ The National Probation Service, M Merseyside ♦ Social Services (Sefton) ♦ Housing (Knowsley) ♦ Education (Wirral) ♦ Youth Offending Team (St(St Helens) ♦ Forensic Psychiatry Service ♦ Merseyside Federation of Victim S Support ♦ Support After Murder and mmmm M Manslaughter (SAMM) ♦ Prison Service (HMP Liverpool)

5. Disclosure
Part of the wider management process to reduce risk, is to notify an individual, groups, or sections of the community, if it is felt this is proportional and justifiable. The issue of disclosure is discussed routinely at every MAPPP meeting, and each case considered on its merits. Disclosure is a sensitive procedure, generally carried out on a one-to-one basis by the professionals involved. Only rarely will disclosure involve the provision of information to the media. The full disclosure of an offender’s details to the public (an authority held by the Police following discussion with other agencies) will be used in a minority of cases only, such as when an offender fails to cooperate with statutory supervision in the community and disappears. In such cases, disclosure to the media can help by alerting members of the public, who may be able to assist in tracking down the offender. Full disclosure can have the opposite effect of not protecting the public, for example when accommodation arrangements are compromised, thereby increasing the risk to others. A local example would be the disclosure of information to head teachers when a particular individual had given cause for concern, when seen loitering around school gates. To date, the selected use of disclosure appears to have worked well and needs to be used within a wider strategy of public education and awareness-raising exercises.

6. Victims’ Work
Since the 1990s there has been far greater awareness and sensitivity towards the needs of victims, particularly those of serious violent/sexual offences, at all points of the criminal/court process. The Probation Service now has a statutory duty to contact victims of serious violent/sexual offences after the court has passed sentence, when an offender has received a prison sentence of one year or more. Since 1995, Merseyside Probation Area has had specialist teams dealing with prisoners and victims. Victims, including the families of murder/manslaughter victims, are contacted two months after sentence to see if they wish to take up the Victim Information Service. This service can keep the victim updatedabout the prison sentence and act as a filter for anxieties over release arrangements. In Merseyside, the Probation Service deals with about 600 Merseyside victims/families per year. The Probation Service has had to acquire new skills in delivering the Victim Information Service. The work is extremely sensitive, and requires a highly professional approach. In delivering the Service, probation staff are greatly assisted by colleagues in Victim Support Schemes. In homicide cases the Probation Service has a formal working partnership with the Merseyside branch of Support After Murder & Manslaughter, a national charity, set up by the families of homicide victims. This collaborative approach in addressing the needs of victims has proved to be essential. Other improvements in the service to victims are currently under consideration by the Home Office. 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 Support Line on 0845 30 30 900 for information and support, and details of local services and other relevent organisations.

7. Statistical Information
i. The number of Registered Sex Offenders (RSOs) in the community on 31/3/02 (s68 (2) CJ&CS Act 2000)

Number of Offenders

655

ii.

The number of RSOs per 100,000 population

47

iii.

The number of sex offenders cautioned/convicted for breach of registration requirements 1/4/01 – 31/3/02

20

iv.

The number of Sex Offender Orders 1/4/01 – 31/3/02

(a) total applied for

6

(b) granted

4

(c) not granted

0

(d) applications still in progress

2

v.

The number of violent offenders and other sex offenders 1/4/01 – 31/3/02 (s68 (3)(4)&(5) CJ&CS Act 2000)

941

vi.

The number of other offenders 1/4/01 – 31/3/02 (s67(2) (b) CJ&CS Act 2000)

15

(NB: For future reference – the number of Sex Offender Orders may be affected by a new legal facility now available to Crown Courts, i.e. Restriction Orders – imposed at the time of sentence.)

Probation £’000

Police £’000

Other Agencies £’000

Total £’000 See 1st Column

Staff Costs

15,000

Not Available

Not Available

Other Costs

-

Total Expenditure

15,000

Income

NIL

Net Expenditure

15,000

Set Up Costs Included in Net Expenditure

NIL

John Stafford Chief Probation Officer National Probation Service, Merseyside

Norman Bettison, Q.P.M. Chief Constable Merseyside Police

Should you require further information about this Annual Report or wish to contact one of the named agencies/organisations, please forward your enquiry to the Assistant Chief Officer, Pre and Post Release Division, National Probation Service (Merseyside), Curtis House, 1d Derby Lane, Liverpool L13 6QA