Deputy Mayor visits pioneering Tri-borough re-offending service

News item posted: 19 June 2017

London's Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime today (Wednesday 19 March) visited a trailblazing new service aimed at reducing re-offending rates across Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea.

The Starting Over programme aims to cut re-offending by 10 per cent in the central London Tri-borough area over the next four years by providing a package of support for male offenders who serve short prison sentences and do not currently receive formal post-release support. This service is an example of the approach that the Justice Secretary is pursuing with the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms that will give support and supervision to ex-prisoners after short term sentences for the first time.

Run by Turning Point and Catch 22 in collaboration with the Metropolitan Police, Starting Over provides a custody referral team, which will work with offenders at the point of arrest identifying issues such as learning disabilities, mental health problems, and alcohol and drug misuse. Each offender will be assigned a key worker who will provide continuous support from sentencing through to release, including assistance with housing and employment.

An assessment of the first 47 re-offenders being supported by Starting Over shows that more than 85 per cent have 10 or more previous convictions and 20 per cent have 50+ previous convictions. The most common crime amongst this group is theft with 80 per cent of offences taking place within the Tri-borough area. Within this group, 8 in 10 individuals have housing needs and more than two-thirds need support with substance misuse.

Starting Over began in 15th October 2013 funded with £2.7m from the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and local authority public health departments. It replaces a number of disparate re-offending services that previously operated in the Tri-borough area with the aim of providing a more efficient resettlement and rehabilitation approach.

Stephen Greenhalgh, Deputy Mayor today had the opportunity to hear first-hand how the service is delivering service efficiencies when he visited Westminster custody suite.

He said: "This is a truly trail-blazing project which is seeking to break the costly cycle of re-offending. Starting Over will give these offenders leaving short-term sentences the opportunity to get their lives back on track whilst helping to drive down crime across the Tri-borough area. It is one of the largest projects that MOPAC is funding to help boroughs reduce reoffending and help reach the Mayor's target to see key crimes cut by 20 per cent by 2016."

Selina Douglas, Managing Director for Turning Point's Substance Misuse and Offending said:

"Building on our previous experience and by working closely with the individual, we can go about things differently, giving the support that someone needs at the right time and at the right place to help reduce reoffending. It's early days, but we know our task and working with all our partners, we are identifying the priorities for support and action."

Colin Murphy, Director of Justice, Catch22, said:

"Catch22 is proud to showcase Starting Over to the Deputy Mayor today. We focus on helping people in prison and after release, providing services to those offenders most likely to reoffend. At Starting Over, we can help people to take responsibility for their actions and develop a personal plan to help them succeed, through consistent and flexible support. We know this approach can deliver tangible results and we hope Starting Over can serve as a blueprint to help reduce reoffending in the future."

The Royal Borough's Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Cllr Joanna Gardner said:

"Far too many offenders are trapped in a vortex of short term prison, homelessness, no job and in some cases substance abuse. There are some encouraging signs however that Starting Over may be able to help some to escape this disastrous cycle and we want to invest in helping them do so."

Hammersmith & Fulham Council's Deputy Leader, Cllr Greg Smith said;

"Hammersmith & Fulham Council has contributed to Turning Point's work in this area because we believe everyone benefits from the work they do in providing offenders with the support they need to turn their lives around. Everything they do to prevent re-offending benefits the individuals they help and the wider community who might otherwise become the victims of further offending."

Cllr Nickie Aiken, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Community Protection said:

"People continuing to commit crime once they have been punished for other crimes can lead to understandable frustrations for neighbourhoods. I hope that this new joint service will help ensure there are no missed opportunities to help reduce reoffending by helping the individuals involved appreciate what affect their behaviour has on themselves, their families and the communities in which they live. Joining up services such as mental health, substance misuse and adult learning makes complete sense."

http://www.turning-point.co.uk/starting-over

Notes to editors:

• Starting Over is a service that utilises the skills and experience of both the public and voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors. Its multi-partner approach strengthens the support an individual can receive.

• Funding for the service totals £2.7m over the next two years, with funding coming from the local authority public health departments and £1.9m from the Mayor's Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC).

• The full list of partners involved in the project are, London Probation Trust, St Giles Trust, Only Connect, HMP Wormwood Scrubs and HMP Wandsworth Community Chaplaincies, as well Turning Point and Catch22.

• The service focuses on male offenders that have been sentenced for less than 12 months and are released without a statutory requirement.

• The service provides an initial assessment in both police and prison custody. Offenders benefit from early assessment for a range of support needs including mental health, substance misuse and learning disability issues.

• Dedicated staff work directly with prisoners sentenced to under 12 months from prison to community to draw up a package of care needs including housing, assistance in finding work and providing support every step of the way.

About Turning Point

• Turning Point is a social enterprise providing health and social care services for people with complex needs, including those affected by drug and alcohol misuse, mental health problems or those with a learning disability. For more information, please visit www.turning-point.co.uk

About Catch22

• Catch22 is forward looking social business with over 200 years' experience providing services that help people in tough situations to turn their lives around.

• Catch22 programmes help those we work with to steer clear of crime or substance misuse, do the best they can in school or college and develop skills for work, live independently on leaving care or custody, gain new skills and confidence as parents, and play a full part in their community.

• In 2011/12 we worked directly with 34,000 young people, families and adult offenders in 150 localities, supporting a further 49,000 young people through national partnership programmes.

• The people we work with may have had tough upbringings, few opportunities, or lived in difficult neighbourhoods.

• For more information, please visit http://www.catch-22.org.uk/