Leicestershire Police leading the way in reducing offending

EMPAC is pleased to be supporting a new Offender Management Pilot, termed ‘7 Pathways Plus’, led by Detective Inspector James Heggs of Leicestershire Police, which offers much promise in reducing long term offending. The work builds on existing approaches, specifically seeking to widen the skills set and capabilities at a neighbourhood level (Youth Justice Board, 2023).

EMPAC is supporting this development work by aligning existing research findings on reducing reoffending (termed ‘desistance’: see McNeil, et al, 2012; Bersani and Doherty, 2018) to avoid reinventing wheels unnecessarily, and by monitoring emergent action learning points, to accelerate implementation progress.

Tackling repeat offending

The purpose of the initiative is to help offenders stop repeat offending, particularly those who are no longer managed by Integrated Offender Management (IOM) yet are still vulnerable to returning to active criminality (such as serious acquisitive crime) (Pierce, et al, 2017; Quinn and Cooke, 2019). 

DI Heggs has a professional expertise in managing high harm serious organised crime (SOC) and counter terrorism (CT) offenders at a national level. Research shows that managing offenders holistically through multiagency approaches, such as MARSOC (Multi-Agency Response to Serious and Organised Crime), have been more effective than silo approaches (Kirkwood, 2016; Kemshall, 2021; Albertson, et al, 2022). 

Reducing offending means less victims

The current challenge being led by DI Heggs is how to influence the behaviour of individuals who are no longer a part of IOM (having reduced opportunities to change their offending habits) yet are still at risk of falling back into a cycle of crime, perhaps through peer pressure. Repeat offending means more harm to more victims and a continual revolving door, which is costly to Police, Probation and Prison Services.

DI Heggs noticed that the well tuned processes that were evident in IOM for SOC and CT offenders across the UK, which had been developed over several years (Hears and Verfaillie, 2022), were in stark contrast to the new, devolved processes laid out for Neighbourhood Offender Management (NOM). Bearing in mind that research (Sabo, 2017; Whitten 2017; Farrington, 2019) shows us that desistance influences are multiple and interrelated, involving health (including mental health), sustainable housing, addiction, education, finance and relationships, it’s easy to see how challenging the work is, at the NOM level, to be able to holistically draw the complex partnerships together that are needed for the approach to be successful.

Leading national best practice

DI Heggs is piloting exemplar approaches within Leicestershire that will offer a trailblazer model for others to emulate. Several other areas are showing interest in the piloting, as a way of improving NOM, and the whole concept is being monitored by the Home Office for its early promise.

Although still in its early stages now, 7 Pathways Plus is finding ways of achieving collaboration across 3rd sector groups, Housing, Probation Service, Department of Work and Pensions, the NHS and local policing to take a local, place-based approach tailored towards achieving long term desistance. This vital work could be a turning point for the future of how the justice system and related partners reintegrate offenders out of crime, and back into society, for positive long term outcomes.



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