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3. Reducing Reoffending

3. Reducing Reoffending

Knife Angel with kids

Serious Violence

  • In trying to turn the tide against rising levels of serious violence across the local area, we secured a visit from the nationally renowned Knife Angel sculpture pictured on its first trip to the North East. The monument was seen by more than 30,000 people during its time in Middlesbrough’s Centre Square and hundreds of young people received anti-knife input from campaigner Theresa Cave.

  • The lasting legacy of the Angel in Cleveland has resulted in further initiatives aimed at reducing knife violence and raising awareness among young people. Cleveland Police installed permanent knife bins in all four of their main local police stations and conducted knife operations on local train networks.

  • Working with local partners, my office has been instrumental in funding emergency first aid packs to help treat those with stab or slash wounds. These ‘stab packs’ have been put together by young offenders currently engaged with South Tees Youth Offending Service, to help them understand the dangers of using or carrying a knife. 

  • We have appointed a Tees Serious Violence Prevention Manager, as a result of securing £546,000 from the Home Office Early Intervention Youth Fund, who is leading on developing a Tees-wide Serious Violence Prevention Strategy, in line with Cleveland Police’s strategy on the same issue. The strategy will include the key strands of prevention, early intervention, targeted intervention and diversion – with work streams for each strand working towards a public health approach.


Heroin Assisted Treatment 

  • We’ve worked with a range of local partners to develop and commission the first Heroin Assisted Treatment (HAT) scheme in the country. Our research found a cohort of 20 chaotic drug users in Middlesbrough cost the taxpayer upwards of £1m a year in police time, A&E or GP visits, and demand on the court and prison system. Patients now attend a specialist facility twice a day for a prescription of medical grade diamorphine, which is injected by the participants on site. 

  • Whilst there, the participants receive wrap-around support for a range of issues, including mental health and housing. Early findings from the pilot are positive, with a 99% attendance rate among participants and an increasing number of participants providing samples which are negative for traces of street heroin. The scheme has attracted national and international interest and Heroin Assisted Treatment was endorsed by the cross-party Health and Social Care Committee in their recent report calling for a radical new approach to tackling drug misuse.

  • I’m passionate about continuing and extending the current pilot scheme in Middlesbrough and exploring the possibility of other areas establishing their own programmes.  I will be investing “Proceeds of Crime” money seized from organised criminals and gangs into this area of work, to help repair harm to communities that the illegal drug trade causes.


Cleveland Divert

  • Developed in partnership with Cleveland Police and Durham Tees Valley Community Rehabilitation Company, Cleveland Divert identifies those who have committed first-time or low-level offences and offers them a bespoke programme of support from a specially trained worker. Pathways have been established in assisting people with a range of issues that have caused them to offend, including mental health, poverty, domestic abuse and alcohol or substance misuse. 

  • If the victim consents, the participant can also engage directly with the person they have harmed through restorative justice.  This process is designed to help the participant understand the impact of their behaviour, to reduce future offending and to offer some form of redress to the victim. 

  • Latest performance information, April 2019 – December 2019 shows 298 accepted referrals into the scheme, with 75% of cases successfully closed during this time period ‘Needs Met’.   Also shortlisted for Howard League Penal Reform Award for specialist support for females.


Youth Triage

  • I also invest in the evidence-based Youth Triage scheme, which provides specialist assessment and intervention programmes to address needs of children and young people at the earliest signs of offending behaviour. This is delivered across the Cleveland area by Youth Offending Teams. Between April 2016 to September 2019, 755 children and young people have received triage interventions across Cleveland. The effectiveness of this scheme has reduced the rate of first time entrants to the criminal justice system by 27% (between 2015 and 2018).

  • I have also funded and supported the undertaking of ground-breaking research into motivations of Sexual Exploitation offenders, including prison interviews and analysis.  This is work which I believe society needs to do much more of, in understanding and tackling an issue with wide-ranging impacts for our communities and our institutions.

  • Alongside my late PCC colleague Ron Hogg, I also co-chair the Cleveland & Durham Local Criminal Justice Partnership (LCJP) and have worked with a range of partners to work towards seamless criminal justice services and to achieve positive outcomes for victims, witnesses and people who offend. This work involved drawing up a LCJP Plan 2018-2021, which sets out how the agencies will work together to reduce offending, support victims and streamline processes.

Go to 4: Working Together to Keep Cleveland Safer


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