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Rochdale Borough Council

Targeted Offenders Project

‘Concentrating finite resources on a limited number of significant offenders’

Executive summary
1 Rochdale recognised that a relatively small number of offenders were responsible for a
disproportionate number offences in its area, and therefore, set up a Targeted Offenders
Project in 2004. The scheme uses a ‘carrot and stick’ approach, and offers rehabilitation
and resettlement programmes to offenders. Its success relies on all agencies working
together. Key challenges ensure that there is effective communication across services and
protocols for information exchange as well as planning for the future sustainability of the

2 Rochdale is situated in the North West, in the Greater Manchester conurbation area with
a population of approximately 208,950. The borough is the third most deprived in the
Greater Manchester region and the 31st within England. It has a diverse population with
11 per cent from a Black or Minority Ethnic group, of which 72 per cent are Pakistani in
origin and 11 per cent are Bangladeshi. There are also comparatively high proportions of
both young people and elderly people within the borough.

3 Following the introduction of the ‘Narrowing the Justice Gap’ programme in 2002, it was
recognised that a relatively small number of offenders were responsible for a
disproportionate number of offences. As a result, a key element of Rochdale’s strategy
was aimed at tackling persistent offenders.

Project implementation
4 Rochdale set up a Targeted Offenders Project in January 2004 with the aim of:
concentrating finite resources on a limited number of significant offenders
controlling and changing behaviour of persistent offenders
reducing crime
reducing re-offending
developing a rapid and effective partnership intervention
quickly addressing non-compliance and re-offending
5 The scheme adopts a ‘carrot and stick’ approach to rehabilitate and resettle, by offering a
range of supportive interventions to stop re-offending eg, basic skills, drug and alcohol
treatment, accommodation and addressing other factors through group-work
programmes, which are run by the Probation Service, such as ‘Think First’. There is also a
strong enforcement element, which includes: proactive and robust policing; visits to the
home; disruption activities1; intelligence; satellite tracking; and joint police; and probation
supervision. ‘Reform or face a swift return to court or prison’ is the message.

6 The project has the support of a project manager, two probation officers, an
administration officer and a police liaison officer. The prolific offenders are on a
database, once they meet the national criteria for offending behaviour. A local matrix has
been drawn up, which is then applied to all the persistent offenders on the database. The
local matrix gives each persistent offender a score. The higher the score, the higher
priority that offender is given. The local matrix is designed, so that local priorities, such as
burglary and violent crime, can be weighted over other crimes.

7 The project currently has steering groups that are focused on the implementation of the
project. It is envisaged that a case-conferencing style meeting will be run alongside the
project. This meeting will link into current relevant structures ie, the Rochdale Safer
Communities Partnership and the tasking and coordinating group. The project, which is
focussed on localities, links closely with the work of the Youth Offending Team in
relation to the young prolific offenders scheme. This means that each of the townships of
the borough have access to the project and can work on local solutions.

8 The project has secured funding to March 2006, and the continuation will be dependent
on the scheme’s success. Performance of the scheme is monitored on a local database
and monthly data is also submitted to the Government Office North West as part of the
performance management arrangements for implementation of the Prolific and Priority
Offenders Strategy.

9 Initial findings show that in the majority of cases, offending behaviour has been
significantly reduced. Key outcomes have been:
safer communities
reduced offending
fewer victims of crime
public reassurance and reduction in fear of crime
increased confidence in the criminal justice system
10 Key agencies involved in establishing the project included: the police; probation; the
Community Safety Unit; and the Drug and Alcohol Action Team, with support from other
local agencies. Setting up the project was relatively problem-free, due to the cooperation
of the agencies involved.

This includes home visits, both announced and unannounced, targeting by patrol officers for stop/search,
surveillance etc.
Critical success factors
looking at an established scheme and ensuring that police and probation managers fully
understand the aims of the scheme and resource the team accordingly
establishing protocols between agencies, to exchange information and establish
effective communication from the outset
a multi-agency approach with active involvement from all agencies. This includes the
police, probation, the Community Drugs Team, alcohol services, employment and
training, housing, the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts
clearly agreed protocols for exchange of information
regular joint meetings, to discuss targeting, progress of offenders, operational issues
etc. An effective approach to tackling prolific offenders requires concerted action by all
agencies in the criminal justice system, while working in partnership with local
authorities and health providers
the courts are important to this scheme and appropriate sentencing practice needs to
be in place

What are the barriers and challenges?

there is a need to develop closer links with HM Prisons, to comply with recent guidance
from the National Offender Management Service. This includes: continuity and
consistency in the management of offenders through the prison system and their
subsequent release into the community and through introduction of case management
units within probation
improvement of existing links with police crime analysts and proactive police units
development of links with the Drug Intervention Programme – formerly the CJIP, the
Youth Offending Team and the new Criminal Justice Act 2003, in reference to the new
sentencing arrangements
ensure that the scheme complements other local initiatives and is central to crime
reduction strategies within the Safer Communities Partnership
ensure that the sustainability of the scheme, in particular, continued support from other
agencies such as the Alcohol and Drug Service and the Community Drug Team

What has been learnt from the experience of delivering the project?
the need for timely data and intelligence and information-sharing between agencies
effective multi-agency links and partnership intervention
a shared understanding of the aims of the scheme, in particular, between agencies, the
CPS and the courts
addressing non-compliance and re-offending speedily
reduction in offending behaviour and in the number of victims
effective rehabilitation and drugs and alcohol treatment
confidence in the criminal justice system

Do’s and don’ts

ensure that there are dedicated police and probation staff from the outset and a
dedicated police analyst, to support intelligence gathering and identify offending or
unacceptable behaviour quickly
enable managers of the main agencies to meet regularly, to resolve problems and
improve quality of interventions
have regular reviews of progress of offenders and joint preparation of agency plans
identify and address criminogenic factors and needs of individual offenders
have speedy enforcement
set up targeting and assessment processes, which identify the right offenders
have a proactive police unit, to respond quickly to offending behaviour
ensure that accommodation, when on release from custody, can be accessed quickly
and easily
set up joint police and probation contacts for offenders, throughout their involvement
with the scheme

underestimate the need for all criminal justice agencies, to understand and share the
aims of the scheme and provide the necessary support, particularly CPS and the courts
accept unsuitable offenders on the scheme, to boost numbers
compromise on staffing the scheme properly

Key contacts
Inspector Chris Ready. Tel: 0161 856 8643
Peter Carter, Greater Manchester Probation Service. Tel: 01706 653411 – TOPS section
Ian Halliday, Community Safety Unit. Tel: 01706 864694
Claire Hodgson, Project Implementation Officer, Drugs and Alcohol Action Team.
Tel: 01706 864854

Links to other local authorities’ work

11 In Newcastle under Lyme, a community-based initiative targets persistent offenders, who
frequently have drug problems and commit crime, to support their drug habit. After
careful selection, offenders are offered a place on the programme from six to 12 months.
During this time they receive fast access to services and support from local agencies and
organisations. Alongside the support, swift action and penalties are imposed for any non-
attendance or non-compliance with the programme. Support is offered in the form of
increased contact meetings with probation, drug rehabilitation and addiction counselling;
help in finding appropriate accommodation; careers advice and training; and help in
developing strategies to live crime free lives. Further information is available from:

12 In Stoke on Trent, the Targeted Policing Initiative aims to enable offenders, who are
normally regarded as difficult to work with – on a constructive and socially inclusive basis,
to opt for positive change if, they are prepared to make the commitment and stop
offending. If not, they run the risk of detection at a much earlier stage than they have
previously experienced, hence, the prevention of further crime. This project is an
important development in partnership work involving the police and probation staff in
the effective management of persistent or prolific offenders. This approach relies upon
mutual trust and commitment from agencies and offenders alike. Further information is
available from:
Case study written and researched for the IDeA by: