Mayor funds scheme to tackle adult reoffending in the capital

09 September 2013

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson is providing almost £2million in funding for an innovative scheme to tackle adult reoffending across the London boroughs of Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham.

The grant is part of the new London Crime Prevention Fund – an £18 million pot that the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) has allocated to help boroughs tackle crime.

The £1.9million pilot project across the three boroughs will focus on the neglected group of offenders who serve short prison sentences and who currently receive no formal post-release support. It will see the establishment of a custody referral team, which will comprehensively health screen offenders at the point of arrest, for learning disabilities, mental health problems as well as alcohol and drug misuse, so that their specific needs can be assessed immediately. Each short-term offender will be provided with a key worker who will provide continuous support from sentencing, to their stay in prison and through to their release. The scheme aims to reduce reconviction rates by 10 per cent for short sentenced prisoners over the next four years, with payments linked to outcomes.

Overall 185 projects across the capital have benefitted from the fund which was based on bids received from London’s 32 boroughs to tackle the key crime issues which are of most concern to local communities.

In addition to reducing re-offending, the fund is supporting projects aimed at tackling gangs, reducing violence against women and girls and anti-social behaviour. Each borough will receive at least the same amount of funding as they were granted in the previous funding round. In many cases, for the first time ever, funding has been agreed for four years to provide more stability and enable smaller organisations to plan in this time of economic uncertainty.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “London is one of the safest big cities in world and crime is continuing to fall. However I am determined that no neighborhood is left behind, so we are ploughing £18 million into local crime prevention projects for local people that support the good work of the police.”

Stephen Greenhalgh, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, said: “The London Crime Prevention Fund is an important way for us to work with boroughs to prevent crime and reduce the number of victims. By guaranteeing that no council will start with less funding than in last year, with some receiving more, we have invested with councils in those programmes that will make a real difference in the drive to prevent crime and to make the city safer.”

Cllr Nickie Aiken, Westminster City Council’s cabinet member for community protection, said: “This investment is welcome backing of our longstanding view that we can improve communities and cut crime across the three boroughs by trying to ensure that offenders aren’t lured back into breaking the law.

“Criminals will sometimes be driven by a web of circumstances including mental health problems and drug or drink abuse, and the custody referral team approach will be a powerful way of trying to unpick these issues and stop repeat patterns of offending behaviour.

“For the community, it’s a step towards safer streets and saving taxpayers’ money – crime is not also unacceptably offensive behaviour, it is also expensive to deal with.”

The funding breakdown for projects across the capital is:

  • Drugs and alcohol (c. £5 million)
  • Reducing re-offending (c. £5 million)
  • Gangs and serious youth violence (c. £3 million)
  • Violence against women and girls (c. £4 million)
  • Anti-social behaviour (c. £1 million)

Other projects supported by the fund include a gang crime reduction project in Hackney, which will operate a series of programmes for young people including mediation between gangs, mentoring, training, work placements and apprenticeships; a drug intervention programme in Hounslow, which aims to break the link between drug addiction and criminal behaviour by providing appropriate treatment and support; and a new service to help the victims of domestic violence in Richmond, which will support them through the criminal justice process and with issues such as housing, health and education.

Notes to Editors

Tri-borough reoffending project:

The £1.9million funding from the Mayor has been matched by the Tri-borough Public Health team to run a £3.7 million pilot project across the three boroughs.

Tackling reoffending is a strategic priority for the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster City Council as outlined in their local Community Safety and Public Health plans. The funding will cover a two year pilot to test the approach, with the ability to extend to 3 to 4 years to provide continuation of service.

The overall aim of the service is to: reduce levels of crime and costs of crime through reducing the number of reconviction incidents by adults released from custodial sentences of under 12 months across the Tri-borough area.

The following targets have been set:

  • Year 1: 5% reduction in the number of reconviction incidents committed by Tri-borough adult short sentence prisoners
  • Years 2, 3 & 4: 10% reduction in the number of reconviction incidents committed by Tri-borough adult short sentence prisoners

London Crime Prevention Fund:

The London Crime Prevention Fund was created in 2013 to ensure there is a single pot of money available to local authorities to tackle the crime issues most prevalent in their area. All boroughs were eligible for at least the same level of funding they received under the previous Home Office, Community Safety Fund. Significantly MOPAC have committed to funding for four years in order to maximise the impact of individual projects and to provide stability for providers on the ground.

Breakdown of individual borough grants:

Borough

2013/14 grant allocation

Barking and Dagenham

£388,000

Barnet

£316,924

Bexley

£209,907

Brent

£627,013

Bromley

£298,231

Camden

£654,714

Croydon

£603,520

Ealing

£699,789

Enfield

£604,236

Greenwich

£502,500

Hackney

£1,119,847

Haringey

£802,000

Harrow

£208,140

Havering

£213,400

Hillingdon

£256,446

Hounslow

£563,556

Islington

£792,000

Kingston

£152,550

Lambeth

£1,082,668

Lewisham

£797,000

Merton

£195,518

Newham

£931,050

Redbridge

£502,690

Richmond

£169,102

Southwark

£906,000

Sutton

£190,000

Tower Hamlets

£859,891

Tri-borough (Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster)

£2,133,820

Waltham Forest

£643,355

Wandsworth

£561,764

Grand Total

£17,985,631