Collaborative working: the UK experience

Collaborative working: the UK
Chris Williams
Head of Community Safety
London Borough of Brent
Understanding the problem
Where we came from
• Pre-2004: offenders released from prison
supervised if prison sentence over 12 months
• Prolific Priority Offenders programme:
– Recognised small number of offenders did huge
amount of crime
– Supported on release, eg met at prison, access to
drug treatment, help with benefits etc
– Saw major decreases in reoffending
Integrated Offender Management
• Taking PPO on:
– Prevent and Deter
• For younger prolific offenders
– Catch and Convict
• Targeting those still offending
– Rehabilitate and Resettle
• Longer term approach to tackling underlying causes
Holistic Approaches: R&R
• Addressing the full needs of the offender:
– Accommodation
– Education, Employment, Training
– Finance, Benefits and Debt
– Attitudes and Behaviour
– Health and Mental Health
– Drugs and alcohol
– Families and Children
Tackling groups, not people
• People behave differently in a group
– Groups carry the street code
– Vendettas and rivalries
• If group dynamic is causing the problem, we
need to identify the groups and engage with
them – not the individuals within
• Doesn’t mean we don’t stop working with the
A continuum?
Gang activity and drug markets
• Organised Crime Groups/Urban Street Gangs
have core business in drug supply
• Identifying drug markets and disrupting them
impacts on gang violence
• Violence undertaken as method of control
over business area – defending boundaries
and intimidating users
Do you understand:
• What drugs are being sold
• How drugs are being sold
– On street? Safe houses? In licensed premises?
Through the homes of vulnerable people?
• Who buys and sells drugs?
– Network of suppliers – on behalf of….?
– Casual users? Addicts? Age?
• Where the drugs come from
– Links to Organised Crime Groups
• Where the drugs are being sold
What we’d like to do
• Eliminate gangs
– Enforcement
– Prevention and intervention
Prevent gang offending
Stop gang recruitment
Separate gang members from gangs
“Solve the gang problem”
• How likely is this?
Why what we traditionally do doesn’t’
• We keep doing things that have never been
proven to work
• We address individuals, not “gangs” and groups
• Addressing individuals only works on an
individual basis – doesn’t take out the market
• We do not engage directly with the street culture
• Let’s take back our town an area at a time…the
message spreads
The Call-in
• Wide ranging partnership: police, council,
housing providers, third sector
• Very small target population – the most violent
• Direct, sustained communication with offenders
as groups
• Simple, unified message:
– The community needs this to stop
– We will help
– We’re not asking: consequences are certain
• Meticulous follow-up
Understanding the street code
Disrespect requires violence
We’re not afraid of death or prison
We handle our own business
We’ve got each other’s back
We’re victims
We’re justified in what we do
• …is this the same here?
Strategic Intervention
• Direct, sustained engagement with street
groups: community, services, police standing
and acting together
• Face-to-face with gangs
• Explicit focus on violence (“Stop the violence
and we will help you”)
• Group accountability for serious youth violence:
group dynamic, group sanction
Last chance has gone
Explained ahead of time
By any legal means: Achilles Heel
Most serious sanctions on impact players
• Careful promise: sanction on next incident of
violence, and on the most violent group
• Reversal of pro-violence peer pressure
• Allows for an “honourable exit”
Moral Engagement
• Offenders can and will chose; are responsible
human beings
• Enormous harm being done and the
community rejects it
• Engagement with the dangerous and mistaken
street code
• Everyone is important, everyone matters
• Works best if most influential nominals are
We Will Help
• Everyone who wants help deserves it
• Some will take it
• Has to be honest: we will do everything we
can, but won’t promise what we can’t deliver
• Limited resources don’t change the core fact
that the violence is completely unacceptable
Core Messages
• It has to stop. It’s wrong. You’re better than
this and you don’t like it either.
• Your community and loved ones need it to
• You are hugely important and valuable
• The ideas of the street code are wrong
• We will do everything we can to help you
• We will stop you if you make us
Agenda for the day
• Police Commander – the enforcement
• A&E Consultant – what happens to shot and
stabbed bodies
• Grieving Parent– when your child is killed
• Ex dealer/gang member – how to get out
• Mentoring trust– opportunities for help
Early Intervention:
Troubled Families
• Holding the hands of the most chaotic families
• Each borough in London has to find c.800 of
the neediest families – unemployment, crime,
truancy, substance misuse
• Family allocated a keyworker to support
journey to normality
• Linking offender and gang families into this
will provide sustainable approach
Vulnerability Focus
Victim Support
ASB Case Panel
Troubled Families
Local Joint Action Groups
Chris Williams
[email protected]

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