How to avoid offence

In the context of a Summer of disturbances in some of our major cities we in Sussex are grateful that the copy cat actions did not reach our County boundaries. Some early indications of trouble were picked up in Crawley and Hastings but in fact it is only this week with the visit to the Amex stadium by Crystal Palace fans that we had anything that could be described as trouble on the Streets. This came as the home side suffered its first league defeat in their glorious new premises. 

Not only did we escape the Summer problems experienced in many London boroughs and some other Metropolitan areas, but according to recent figures we are also seeing a significant reduction in much more serious acts of criminality in our community. According to our  local newspaper, The Argus ( this is as a result of the hard work of the Prolific and Priority Offending (PPO) scheme.  However these three initials spell out wide range of interventions being taken by a number of agencies that of course include the statutory agencies such as the Police and Probation, but also the voluntary sector.

Brighton and Hove has already won many plaudits for its partnership work during the night-time hours under the auspices of the Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP) with the Police, the private sector such as the nightclubs and bars and the voluntary sector. The voluntary sector elements of the BCRP includes the work of Street Pastors, Safe Space (a field hospital and advice centre run by Sussex Central YMCA) and Off The Fence which works with Street Sleepers.  

Back to the PPO, the benefit to society of working with repeat offenders cannot be underestimated. The easy approach is to wait till offences have been committed, to try, and sentence those involved and then to release them at the end of their sentence into a revolving door that sees individuals repeat their historical behaviour. The hard work involved in the PPO scheme has a much more long-term and sustainable outcome. However it does depend on adequate resources being allocated to this preventative activity. The good news is that over time, small sums spent on preventative work can replace obscene amounts spent on the revolving door approach. Of course this depends in part on political leaders such as Ken Clarke being allowed to face down vested interests in the revolving doors and those in our communities who would rather see full jails than risk helping criminals turn their lives around after they have served their sentence. Many of our media outlets are also against this approach and it is all to easy to hear the phrase ‘do-gooders’ being used. This is a context which desperately needs some good doing. 

So in order to name some of the charities that have helped Sussex halve its crime figures and are therefore saving us all a great deal of money and distress let us applaud:

 Brighton & Hove FareShare; Brighton Housing Trust; Sussex Pathways; Salvation Army; CRI; Brighton YMCA; Sussex Central YMCA. There are no Oscars for the people who work for these agencies. However between them they are the ones who have helped Probation and Sussex Police and our 15 local authorities in delivering on these great outcomes.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Economics, Policing, UK Riots in August 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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