Custody-based interventions increased to reduce serious violence
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Arrested people have been benefitting from a trial scheme providing increased wrap-around support to help them move away from crime and reduce their chances of being a victim of serious violence.
As part of Northamptonshire Police’s 10-week operation to tackle serious violence, the Force’s custody chief inspector worked with a range of partners to increase the in-house support offered to children and adults while in custody.
These included the Youth Offending Service (NYOS), PADS, CIRV, youth workers from the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s team, Substance2Solution and the Probation Service, all working alongside established Liaison and Diversion workers already based in custody to give people who have been arrested or attended a voluntary interview the help and guidance they need to move away from offending.
Providers were able to give on-the-spot advice for everything from referrals for drug or alcohol misuse, to housing advice and mental health support. Detainees could also start the process of on-going engagement, and access guidance around employment opportunities.
Chief Inspector Tim Britton said: “When people are in custody, we have a unique opportunity to both progress criminal investigations as well as also plant the seeds of a different, more positive path for offenders.
“The aim of our initiative was to offer timely support and solutions to some of the issues which may be fuelling offending, with the hope of reducing or preventing the violence they may otherwise go on to commit and stop them from going on to become a victim of violence themselves.
“Support from partners during this trial period was brilliant, and the consensus was that many of the elements trialled or increased during the period should be continued long-term, which I hope will continue to help reduce offending and keep more people from becoming victims of serious violence.”
Staff from Substance2Solution attended custody suites in Northampton and Kettering as part of the initiative, speaking to detainees who could benefit from their expertise in supporting people to recover and overcome adversity.
A report into their participation noted the ‘warm and enthusiastic reception’ received and concluded the initiative ‘serves as a testament to the effectiveness of genuine engagement and collaboration in effecting change in the lives of individuals confronting challenges’.
The organisation is now working with the Force to explore the expansion of its work into both custody suites on a longer-term basis, with more activities scheduled for late September.
NYOS also enjoyed a successful week, providing intervention and support to all of the 16 children brought into custody during a five-day period, with their officers also speaking to all child suspects attending on a voluntary basis.
Senior practitioner Kirsty Day, part of the Youth Offending Turnaround Programme at NYOS, said: “This week of action has supported in improving working relationships between police and NYOS.
"It has created opportunity for open communication to encourage young people’s engagement with early intervention and support to address offending behaviours and preventing further incidents.
“It is a positive step in our partnership working with police officers providing an immediate response to potential risk but then looking behind this and pulling in support for the children and young people that find themselves in police custody.”
The trial period in figures:
16 children in custody benefitted from intervention work from NYOS 17 visits by CIRV workers to young people in custody Four referrals to Substance2Solution Two liaisons with social services on behalf of detainees Seven referrals to IAPT counselling, improving people’s access to psychological therapy Two referrals to homeless services Two 24-hour follow-up welfare calls Eight referrals to the mental health hub Four GP referrals One referral to the Sunflower Centre, which provides support in cases of domestic abuse