You are on page 1of 3

Case study 1 - 'Simon'.

Simon was born in 1971 and has 34 criminal convictions dating back to 1987. His convictions
cover a wide spectrum and include burglary, theft, criminal damage, violence against the person,
theft from motor vehicle and disqualified driving. He is a self-confessed heroin user and 'career
criminal'. Simon was released from custody in February ‘05 after a lengthy sentence for burglary
and theft. However, he has not been in Police custody since his release and there is no evidence
to suggest that he is re-offending. A minor miracle! Perhaps? Possibly and more likely, it's due to
the hard work and dedication of all the various partnerships involved in the POPO scheme.

Simon was initially selected as a POPO when the scheme went live in October 2004. At that time,
he was serving a sentence in HMP. He was to be the schemes first 'live' case. All the talking and
discussion was over. It was time to see how we could persuade Simon to move away from his
previous criminal career.

An introductory letter was constructed and Prison staff consulted on its content and the best way
to deliver it to Simon. It was decided that Simon's 'Wing' Officer would hand deliver the letter and
then be available to explain further about the scheme. A ' lifestyle' questionnaire was also
included (something that we adapted from Lancashire’s ' Tower Project') and Simon was invited
to complete and return it. Surprisingly, he did and the answers to some of the questions were
both humorous and enlightening. In the letter, an invite was made by me offering to visit Simon in
Prison to further explain the scheme and to find out how he could be persuaded from returning to
crime on his release. Simon, however, declined a visit and feedback from the Prison indicated
that he was less than impressed with his inclusion on the scheme. Our first ' live' case looked like
it would also be our first failure.

Simon was released from Prison as planned in January and placed in temporary accommodation
in Rhyl. We braced ourselves for a crime spree with Simon's previous MO stamped all over it.
Local Officers had been briefed that he had been released and that within days he would re-
offend. Simon was definitely on the 'Catch and Convict' strand. But no, as the weeks went by
Simon was not implicated in any crime in the Divisional area. He was keeping his Probation
appointments and actively looking for more permanent accommodation. He was stop checked
frequently in the first weeks but gradually intelligence slowed to a trickle. A local organisation -
CAIS (a North Wales based charity with a worker inside a local prison) - became actively involved
in helping Simon to find somewhere to live. Close liaison with Simon's Probation Officer meant
that the Police could keep ' tabs' on him without constantly stopping him. I was made aware by
his Probation Officer that he felt he was under quite close scrutiny by the Police but it was difficult
to know if this was a reason for him not re-offending. At this stage, Simon still did not want to
meet with Police face to face. It was not felt that this was a problem and Simon was well aware
that we were working closely with his Probation Officer.

The real breakthrough came when CAIS were able to place Simon in his own flat in a residential
area of Rhyl. With Simon's agreement, I accompanied his Probation Officer on the first home visit
to his new accommodation. It had now been just under 6 months since his release and I
was desperate to know what had made him change his pattern of living. It became apparent that
the scheme had provided a focus for Simon to really sit down and think about where he would be
in 5 or 10 years time. He decided that it was the right time for him to try something different. From
his point of view, the biggest plus was getting his own flat. I can now maintain regular contact with
Simon through home visits and liaison with his Probation Officer. Whilst we will never be friends,
we can talk constructively and Simon is already planning for the end of his Probation licence in
September. He has recently re-contacted his father, who lives and works in Spain. His father
has invited Simon to go and live with him and can also provide work.

Simon, then, is currently a success story and we are looking to 'exit' him from our scheme. The
lessons that were learnt from our experience with Simon were invaluable. In my opinion,
partnership working and constant communication with everybody involved in managing individual
POPOs through the system is the key to success. It's good to talk!

Case study 2 - ' Ross '.

Ross was born in 1963 and has 29 convictions which include numerous Public Order offences -
being drunk and disorderly, driving whilst disqualified, theft, common assault and making threats
to kill. Ross has an alcohol problem and this frequently contributes to his offending behaviour. He
was placed on the POPO scheme in November 2004 at which time he was serving a custodial

Ross' problems stem from a rather volatile relationship he has with his female partner. They both
reside in a small, rural village and their constant domestic arguments resulted in neighbours
becoming involved and calling Police on numerous occasions. Ross began making threats to one
particular family and was imprisoned for 6 months. Ross also exhibits extreme hostility whenever
he comes into contact with Police and CS spray had been used to subdue him on one occasion.

After consultation with Prison staff, a letter explaining the POPO scheme was sent to Ross and
hand delivered by a member of CAIS (a North Wales based charity with a worker inside a local
prison). The female CAIS worker had established a rapport with Ross and was able to report on
his attitude towards being placed on the scheme. It was not well received and he flatly refused
any offers of help from the scheme, seeing it as Police based and not recognising the multi-
agency aspect of it. He was due to be released in early December 2004 and was already the
subject of an ASBO preventing him from re-entering the village where his partner resided. Local
Officers were fully briefed regarding Ross' attitude and propensity for offending and an Action
Plan was put in place.

Within 3 days of his release, Ross was arrested for drinking in a public place (his ASBO
specifically prevented him from doing this) and was then arrested again 2 days later for breaching
his ASBO. He was detained in custody as per his POPO status and was remanded back to
Altcourse. On 12 March 2005, he appeared at Crown Court and was sentenced to 6 months
imprisonment. During the time he was in custody, numerous attempts were made to engage him
on the POPO scheme. He steadfastly refused to see any person in authority and angrily declined
all offers of help with his alcohol abuse - something which he did not recognise as a problem. He
was firmly placed in the ' Catch and Convict ' category but attempts continued to try and find a
way to engage him.

He was released at the end of March but within a week he was back in custody for another
breach of his ASBO. He was sentenced to 3 months imprisonment and at the time of writing is
due for release on 24 June 2005. Ross' ASBO has now expired and local Officers have again
been fully briefed. Local residents have also been kept fully updated with Police plans to deal with
any offences that may be committed after his release.

Ross, then, is also a success story but from a different perspective. The mainstay of the POPO
scheme is the reduction of crime. In Ross' case this has been achieved by pro-active Police work
in consultation with our partnership agencies and the ability to ' fast-track ' Ross through the
system back to Prison. In my opinion, Ross will remain on the POPO scheme for some
considerable time but again, the lessons learnt were invaluable. Partnership working and
constant communication with everybody involved in managing individual POPOs through the
system is the key to success. It's still good to talk.

(Latest update is that in absence of PoPO Officer, deputy PoPO Officer arranged attendance at
the prison but Ross refused to engage. He made his own way back to North Wales and had an
appointment to attend at the Probation office that afternoon, but he failed to attend his
appointment. Temporary accommodation has been arranged for him away from the village where
he caused so many problems. Continued partnership efforts are being made to ‘rehabilitate’, but
ultimately, should Ross choose to continue offending, an action plan is in place to ensure swift
positive action is taken to ‘catch and convict’).