Offender scheme defended following Ipswich police officer’s sex scandal hearing

Police have defended the use of an offender rehabilitation scheme

Police have defended the use of an offender rehabilitation scheme - Credit: IAN BURT

The leader of a scheme to rehabilitate prolific offenders in Suffolk has clarified its responsibilities after a sex scandal involving one of its team attracted attention.

Suffolk’s 180 degree Integrated Offender Management scheme was brought into the public eye last week when an officer was dismissed for gross misconduct having entered into a relationship with a man she was supposed to be steering clear of crime.

She had been managing the offender through the scheme, but embarked on a sexual relationship after meeting him in a social setting.

Insp Danny Kett, who leads the 180 team, has defended the scheme’s successes in combating crime.

Highlighting statistics showing that 80% of all acquisitive crime is committed by just 20% of the offending group, he said it was essential to target the “small number of people who cause the most harm across society.” He said these offenders often came from troubled family backgrounds, had little education and were frequently involved with drugs.

The integrated offender management scheme, which is used nationwide, joins together various authorities involved in rehabilitation, such as the police, probation service, drug therapists and employment officers.

Insp Kett said the police role in this multiagency approach was to ensure the offender knew they were being monitored to discourage reoffending, rather than to act as social workers.

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“One of the best ways to prevent crime is to engage with the rehabilitation of criminals, targeting individuals who are most likely to commit these crimes and look at the pathways that are leading to burglaries, thefts and robberies - the types of crimes that affect the public on a daily basis,” he said.

“When we are checking on these people they are not out offending and so it helps with the rest of our policing.”

Insp Kett said the scheme resulted in roughly a 60% decline in offending among its members with particular reductions in the more serious offences.

Addressing issues raised at last week’s misconduct hearing, he said all officers in the scheme needed to be aware of the police code of ethics and applicants for the role were asked about appropriate behaviour when interviewing for the role.