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Pioneering scheme to manage potentially dangerous offenders launches in Bristol
Release date: Wed, 27/06/2012
A pioneering pilot scheme designed to further protect the public from potentially dangerous offenders will be launched in Bristol tomorrow at a presentation hosted by Safer Bristol.
The ‘Integrated Response Integrated Services’ (IRIS) initiative aims to reduce violent crimes by bringing together a team of experts to manage and work with people who have a history of violent behaviour.
Under current national Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) violent or dangerous offenders who have already completed prison sentences are managed in the community by police and probation. They are subject to conditions and management to reduce their risk of the re-offending.
IRIS builds on this process and brings together professionals from a broad spectrum of agencies including probation, the prison service, police, heath and the city council. All will work together to identify those individuals identified as being most likely to offend in the future.
Following the principles of Avon and Somerset’s nationally recognised Integrated Offender Management Scheme ‘IMPACT', piloted by Safer Bristol partners, which successfully manages Avon and Somerset’s most problematic burglars and thieves, IRIS will combine intervention and close monitoring of violent offenders to reduce re-offending and break the cycle of their violent behaviour.
Rick Palmer, Service Director of Safer Bristol said: “By adopting a similar approach to IMPACT, IRIS staff from the different agencies will all be based at the same location, sharing information and joint responsibility. We think using this approach we can achieve similarly positive results with dangerous offenders and so reduce the risk to the public.”
The IRIS team will be made up of a range of professional staff from Avon and Somerset Probation Trust, the Police, HMP Bristol, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health and support from voluntary sector.
Assistant Chief Constable John Long from Avon and Somerset Police is the national lead on Integrated Offender Management and with Safer Bristol has also been involved in putting the IRIS team together.
ACC Long said: “The IRIS team will work together to identify, assess and monitor individuals who we believe pose a risk of causing harm. This initiative will help us to work together even more closely with our partners in probation, the NHS and prison service to manage those who we believe pose a risk so we are even more effective in reducing the risk of harm to the public.”
“As with IMPACT we will use a carrot and stick approach by providing offenders with support to help them address the issues that are causing them to break the law but at the same time we will use robust enforcement powers if they continue to offend”
Marilyn Harrison is the Assistant Chief Probation Officer for Bristol of the Avon and Somerset Probation Trust and Chair of the Safer Bristol Partnership.
Ms Harrison said: “The agencies will work with people who are due to be released from prison, mental health patients and other potentially dangerous people identified as posing a risk whilst living in the community. There will be regular meetings held by highly-skilled professionals who will agree and implement a joint risk assessment plan which will include enforcement action and support that can be used to reduce the risk of them re-offending. This team will add value to the Current Multi-agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) arrangements that are in place nationally to manage dangerous offenders.”
Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP) will be providing the support of clinical and forensic psychologists. The aim of this support is to improve the management of offenders who have personality disorders and mental health issues within the Criminal Justice System. Working alongside health professionals which will support the IRIS team with risk assessments putting the right support in place and ensuring public protection.
Dr Julian Walker, consultant Forensic Clinical Psychologist R&D Directyor for AWP "We believe the bringing together of a truly multidisciplinary forensic team (IRiS) will deliver better services and get better results in terms of recovery and reducing offending than if we deliver services in isolation. As the local mental health trust we are pleased to be involved in working with high risk offenders with personality disorder who are often socially excluded and can be very difficult to work with. In particular we are pleased to offer expert psychological services to help support staff as well as identifying and working with personality disordered offenders in line with the new National Joint DH/NOMS Offender PD Strategy."
The IRIS team will include probation officers, police officers, prison officers, a community psychiatric nurse and psychologists who will work together under one roof at The Bridewell Police Station. Other staff will also give advice and support to individuals on finding accommodation, education and training and they will link closely with Bristol City Council’s Children’s Services to ensure children are kept safe.
Lucy Burgess, IRiS Development Officer from the Probation Service who has been instrumental in identifying the cohort of offenders for IRiS said: “ We need to be ensuring that we focus our professionals and our services on those offenders in our community who pose the most risk to the public. Our integrated responses to dealing with dangerous offenders will ensure swift actions are taken to prevent further offending but also that proper assessments and plans are in place to effectively reduce that risk. ”
Cllr Gary Hopkins, Cabinet Member for Community Safety for Bristol City Council and a Member of the Safer Bristol Board said, "I would like to pay tribute to the Safer Bristol partners who have pioneered so many succesful schemes in Bristol to help local people remain safer".