Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe has described multi-agency talks to discuss public protection measures in the county as “positive and constructive”, adding that agencies were demonstrating a “clear determination to find new ways to ensure the public’s safety”.
The talks were convened by the Commissioner after concerns were raised with him by Colin Hehir, whose son Morgan was murdered in Nuneaton in October 2015. Morgan’s killer had been released from prison several months earlier having been imprisoned for manslaughter.
Mr Hehir expressed concerns that his son’s death exposed possible gaps in public protection measures, which meant that agencies had few options to supervise potentially unreformed violent offenders when they were released after serving their full term in prison.
To gain a fuller understanding of the measures in place to protect the public, Mr Seccombe invited the major agencies involved to Leek Wootton on Tuesday afternoon (June 27).
Representatives from Warwickshire Police, the National Probation Service, HM Prison Service, the Crown Prosecution Service, Warwickshire Youth Justice Service, Warwickshire and West Mercia Community Rehabilitation Company and solicitors from Warwickshire County Council were all present, as was Mr Hehir who spoke of the concerns he and his family had.
The meeting heard how the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) had been strengthened since 2015 to follow national best-practice in identifying and managing the risks posed by offenders, while changes to the Warwickshire Police operating model have led to an enlarged Integrated Offender Management programme, with the focus for the force being to protect people from harm.
The number of violent offenders leaving prison having served their full term was described as being low, however there was an acceptance that in such circumstances agencies were more limited in how they could actively managed in the community. Active discussion then took place at how existing powers could be better used to provide improved protection, as well as what additional powers may be helpful in the future.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “It is clear that all of agencies work hard to protect the public from dangerous offenders but I was keen to hold this meeting as a means of taking stock and understanding what additional measures could help them to enhance the protection they are able to give.
“I was reassured to hear of the enhanced MAPPA and offender management processes that are now in place and the focus that is now placed on the individuals posing the greatest risk to the public. I was also very pleased with the positive and constructive way that all of the agencies discussed ideas for further improvement.
“There was a clear determination to find new ways to ensure the public’s safety, for example by making greater use of Criminal Behaviour Orders and Civil Injunctions. My office will continue to work with the agencies to identify the best ways for taking forward these suggestions in the coming weeks.”
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Hehir added: “The meeting was very positive and I look forward to working with the agencies to improve public safety.”