Frontline practitioners from a range of criminal justice agencies from across Warwickshire have received training on how best to use legislation and court orders to safeguard the public from dangerous offenders.
The training session involved representatives from the National Probation Service, Police, Youth Justice Service and local authority housing staff, to give an overview on how the powers in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 can help agencies in their management of violent offenders following their release from prison.
It was organised by the Warwickshire Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) Strategic Management Board (SMB) and is the latest in a number of activities arising from a round table discussion organised last year by Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe.
The meeting last June featured a powerful input from Colin Hehir, the father of Morgan Hehir, who was murdered in Nuneaton in October 2015. Morgan’s murderer had previously been convicted of the manslaughter of another man, but was no longer subject to statutory management by agencies under the MAPPA process following his release from prison, as he had served the full term of his sentence.
Powers which were not fully available at that time now give agencies greater possibilities to proactively manage offenders following prison release. The training session, delivered by Lara Macnab and Michael Goucher from Warwickshire County Council Legal Services, was designed to highlight how use of Civil Injunctions and Criminal Behaviour Orders can arm frontline staff with measures to proactively supervise individuals in the community beyond the end of their sentences, as well as giving greater powers of sanction if breached.
Renewed guidance for best practice at sentence expiry date is also being produced by the SMB sub-group, to help staff across the criminal justice agencies manage risk as defensibly as possible. Together, the measures are designed to boost the ability of agencies to keep the public safe from violent, sexual or other dangerous offenders.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “I was pleased to be able to call into the training session held in Warwick recently and take the chance to speak to the frontline staff present to stress how important it is for all agencies to work together effectively to make best use of the powers available to protect the public.
“There is a considerable amount of focus on this locally from the police, probation, youth justice and local authorities and we must continue to pursue all options to ensure that the public is kept safe from dangerous individuals. My office is continuing discussions with partners to look at potential areas where legislation could be strengthened to assist agencies as they protect the public. Should practical suggestions can be identified, I will take these forward for discussions at a national level.”
Tom Rogers, Warwickshire MAPPA Coordinator, added: “This was an extremely informative training session which I feel encapsulates the willingness to share knowledge and expertise across Warwickshire. Events like this help us to continually improve local public protection measures, to ensure that every effort is made to prevent the creation of more victims.”