Published Thursday, 21 November 2019
A burglar with a string of convictions to his name has turned his back on crime thanks to support from a specialist West Midlands Police team tasked with rehabilitating prolific offenders.
The 23-year-old was released from prison in July 2018 having served a five-year jail term for a string of burglaries.
It was the latest in a long line of convictions. He received his first of eight police cautions at the age of 11 for bike theft, was a notorious shoplifter in his home city of Coventry and registered his first criminal conviction for drugs possession when he was 14-years-old.
But thanks to support from specialist police offender managers he’s been crime and drug free since his prison release and is now holding down a job as a warehouseman with a major national retailer. And has recently been promoted!
It’s the latest success story to emerge from Coventry Police’s Offender Management Unit which oversees more than 600 people considered to be high crime risks in the city, including prolific burglars, sex offenders and domestic abusers.
"It would have been easy to dismiss him as a "career criminal" for whom there was no hope," said Inspector Gary Osbourne, who leads Coventry Police’s team of offender managers.
"But this case goes to show that with the right mentoring and support in place − together with a determination and willingness to change on behalf of the offender − it’s possible to help even hardened criminals stop their offending.
"In less than 12 months he successfully transformed himself from a prolific, young offender to a hard working member of society."
It’s estimated that around half of all crime in Coventry − and across the wider West Midlands − is committed by a small hard core of prolific offenders.
Latest Home Office statistics suggest just five per cent of offenders are responsible for more than 50 per cent of all recorded crime.
Insp Osbourne added: "That’s why it’s crucial we invest time and resources into managing these individuals who pose the greatest risk of harm to our communities.
"Seven years ago we were managing 70 offenders… now that figure has risen to more than 600. Our team has expanded to deal with the extra demand and we are also now co-located with specialist mental health nurses to help anyone where mental health could be acting as a trigger for their offending.
"This isn’t just about improving the lives of offenders; it’s about cutting crime and protecting our communities. Had it not been for our work with this particular burglar, who’s to know how many residents may have suffered the heartache of a break-in at his hands?"
The team works with partner agencies to identify triggers underlying an individual’s offending behaviour, including substance misuse, mental health, financial hardship or wider lifestyle issues, to create a bespoke package of interventions.
Probation officer Kim Martin from the West Midlands Community Rehabilitation Company, added: "We don’t just knock on their door to check they’re adhering to a curfew or any licence conditions: we help people with accommodation, education, training and employment opportunities, benefit applications and drug and alcohol addiction.
"The reasons people commit crime are complex and varied − but we can work with offenders to help them change their ways, improve their life prospects…and to reduce crime."