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  1. Russell Webster does a deep dive into new data which reveals that most perpetrators of sexual offences are never brought to justice. Date - 22nd December 2018 By - Russell Webster 2 Comments Last week the Office for National Statistics published a new report which went mainly unnoticed by journalists focusing on Mrs May’s latest trials and tribulations. “Sexual offending: victimisation and the path through the criminal justice system” provides an overview of sexual offending in England and Wales, bringing together a wide range of official statistics to give a picture of the prevalence of sexual offences, their reporting and recording and what happens to those who are charged with sexual offences. By assembling all the relevant information together in one publication, the ONS has provided a valuable service for anyone seeking to get an understanding of sexual offending. The report’s overall conclusion is a powerful and dispiriting one − the majority of cases of sexual offending do not come to the attention of the police, and many of those that do, do not result in a conviction for the perpetrator. In fact, many offences don’t proceed further than the police investigation due to evidential difficulties. Here are the report’s main findings: The Crime Survey for England and Wales estimated that approximately 700,000 people aged 16 to 59 years were victims of a sexual assault in the last year. The majority of these cases will not enter the criminal justice system. Less than one in five victims of rape or assault by penetration reported their experience to the police. The volume of sexual offences recorded by the police has almost tripled in recent years. However, these increases largely reflect improvements in police recording and more victims being willing to report. The number of offences recorded by the police remains well below the number of victims. Of the offences that do come to the attention of the police, many don’t progress further through the criminal justice system. There has been a decrease in the proportion of cases resulting in a charge or summons outcome. This decline may be, in part, due to resource pressures on the police following the substantial increase in recorded sexual offences. This includes non-recent cases, which may take longer to investigate before an outcome can be assigned. Offences have also become increasingly complex, which can increase the time it takes to consider all the evidence. Half of all sexual offences recorded by the police didn’t proceed further through the criminal justice system due to evidential difficulties. This figure reflects the challenges involved in investigating sexual offences, despite the majority of suspects being identified. The Ministry of Justice recorded a 10 per cent decrease in defendants proceeded against at magistrates’ courts for sexual offences in 2017. This is similar to the percentage reduction seen in police charges. Crown Prosecution Service data show that three in five of rape-flagged prosecutions and four in five of prosecutions for other sexual offences resulted in a conviction. Of those that did not result in a conviction, over half were due to acquittals. A further 16 per cent of rape-flagged cases and 13 per cent of other sexual offences that did not result in a conviction were due to victim retraction, victim non-attendance or evidence of the victim not supporting the case. Conclusion The main trends are clear. Most sexual offences are not reported to the police. The police only succeeding in progressing half of those which are reported through the criminal justice system. Less than two thirds (62 per cent) of all those prosecuted for sexual offences are convicted and only just over one in three (36 per cent) of those prosecuted for rape are found guilty. It is, however, true that those who are found guilty are likely to be sent to prison for an increasing length of time. Average custodial sentence length (ACSL) has risen across all sexual offences between 2012 and 2017. The ACSL for rape in 2012 was eight years eight months while just five years later it had risen to nine years 10 months. The bottom line though is that most people committing sexual offences get away from it. My analysis of the report revealed that although it was estimated that 700,000 people were sexually assaulted last year, just 6,877 individuals were convicted of a sexual offence – not even one percent. No wonder the #MeToo movement struck a chord with so many women. View On Police Oracle
  2. Last night at midnight, the Ministry of Justice formally concluded its public consultation on how to re-model the failing probation service. Date - 22nd September 2018 By - Russell Webster 2 Comments Civil servants will have to read and analyse several hundred submissions from academics, voluntary and private organisations who work with offenders, probation practitioners and ordinary members of the public. You could forgive those working at 102 Petty France for feeling a sense of frustration at this task since it is only three and a half years since they finished the last redesign of probation, known as Transforming Rehabilitation (TR). TR was the MoJ’s project for the biggest overhaul of probation since its origins in 1907. The MoJ published the original consultation paper: “Transforming Rehabilitation: A revolution in the way we manage offenders” in January 2013 before setting out a strategy in May of that year which trumpeted the transformation it hoped to achieve: A new public sector National Probation Service will be created, working to protect the public and building upon the expertise and professionalism which are already in place. For the first time in recent history, every offender released from custody will receive statutory supervision and rehabilitation in the community. We are legislating to extend this statutory supervision and rehabilitation to all 50,000 of the most prolific group of offenders – those sentenced to less than 12 months in custody. A nationwide ‘through the prison gate’ resettlement service will be put in place, meaning most offenders are given continuous support by one provider from custody into the community. We will support this by ensuring that most offenders are held in a prison designated to their area for at least three months before release. The market will be opened up to a diverse range of new rehabilitation providers, so that we get the best out of the public, voluntary and private sectors, at the local as well as national level. New payment incentives for market providers to focus relentlessly on reforming offenders will be introduced, giving providers flexibility to do what works and freedom from bureaucracy, but only paying them in full for real reductions in reoffending. As a result the probation service was split into the National Probation Service which serviced the courts and supervised all high risk offenders and 21 new, private Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) who supervised medium and low risk offenders. The new providers started work in February 2015. The new system was beset by problems and the subject of extremely critical reports by the National Audit Office, the House of Commons Justice and Public Accounts Committees and the Probation Inspectorate. Criticisms included the fact that several private probation providers (the CRCs) were supervising low-risk offenders almost entirely by telephone, that the “through-the-gate” resettlement work was largely ineffective and that magistrates and judges were losing confidence in community orders supervised by the CRCs in particular. The final blow was probably the Chief Inspector of Probation, Dame Glenys Stacey’s annual report published in December 2017 which concluded that: TR was not working. The Community Rehabilitation Companies in particular were under-funded. Any probation system which does not guarantee consistency in offender manager-offender relationships is unlikely to work Any model which abandons specialist interventions for offenders which have been proved to be effective is flawed. The MoJ invested more funds in the failing CRCs but performance did not improve sufficiently, forcing Justice Secretary David Gauke to acknowledge the difficulties and announce a re-launch on 27 July this year. He announced that: Offender management on low and medium risk offenders would be transferred to the National Probation Service in Wales. The CRC contracts are being cut short with the end date being brought forwards from 2022 to 2020. CRCs will now be aligned with the NPS areas (making 10 English probation regions) and a new procurement exercise will be launched with the expectation that more voluntary sector organisations will be involved in delivering interventions and unpaid work – an ambition unrealised in the original TR procurement exercise. Recognising current under-performance, the MoJ will put additional money into contracts for through-the-gate work in particular. On the same day, the MoJ published the consultation where it asked 17 key questions aimed at improving the way probation works, most of them focusing on the criticisms listed above. Throughout TR’s brief existence, many probation commentators have campaigned to roll back the changes; arguing that the 35 local Trusts who delivered probation prior to TR were doing a good job, that TR was driven by an ideological desire for privatisation and that the best solution was to return to the status quo ante and renationalise probation. Political realities dictated that this was never going to happen. It was always extremely unlikely that a Conservative Government would admit that a privatisation project has failed and Chris Grayling, TR’s principal architect, still sits at the Cabinet table. The difficulty facing those civil servants at the MoJ who are charged with writing the official response to the views expressed via the consultation is that the public were not asked to comment on the two underlying causes of most of TR’s problems. Firstly, the probation budget, like that of the prison service, was cut too harshly with the new private probation providers unable to deliver a quality service for the contract price. Although the MoJ has put some money back into these contracts, the department is facing additional cuts from the Treasury this year and will not be able to return to former funding levels. Secondly, and for me an even more fundamental problem, was the decision to design a split public-private service. Everyone affected by probation — courts, Police and Crime Commissioners, partner organisations, victims and offenders themselves — sees probation as a single service whose aim is to protect the public and help offenders desist from crime. Since TR, this has not been the operational reality. The National Probation Service prepares court reports on all offenders and then passes over the low and medium risk ones to be supervised by the CRCs. If an individual fails to comply with the requirements of their order, the CRC can’t return them to court but must ask the NPS to do so on its behalf. Similarly, the CRCs are charged with doing pre-release resettlement work in prison not just for their own clients but for the high risk offenders who will be supervised by the National Probation Service on release. Predictably, this has been a recipe for disaster with a huge increase in bureaucracy as offenders are passed back and forth across the public-private divide with each organisation only concerned with its individual targets rather than the greater good of reforming offenders and protecting the public. This fragmentation is the root cause of many, indeed most, of the key questions raised by the MoJ be they sentencer confidence in community sentences, better through-the-gate work or a new common professional training system. It is for the elected government of the day to decide whether probation should be a public or private enterprise bu,t for the life of me, I find it hard to see how the current two-tier model (which the MoJ has already decided to keep) can succeed. I fear that without a return to a unified probation service (even if that service is delivered by a private company in some areas), the civil servants reading those consultation responses will be wasting their time. Russell Webster is an Independent researcher and consultant View On Police Oracle
  3. junior_7178

    Tutor Constables?

    Are there any tutor constables on here? I'm soon to be starting my tutor phase and am curious to get the thoughts of any tutor constables amongst the membership on here. I'm aware of the basics like listen to what they say, do what they say, make the tea, volunteer for anything and everything. But I'm interested to hear what sort of mistakes student officers make (not the uk cop humor type mistakes, but serious/sensible answers), what can i be doing now in these last few weeks to make me less of a liability to my tutor? Anyone got any general tips for someone about to set out on their tutor phase? I'v heard stories from both tutors and students about not getting on and frosty relationships, so naturally I'm a bit apprehensive.
  4. I am a newbie cop and still within my first two year probation period. A general query here in relation to complaints. I have had a couple of silly complaints now, they are total rubbish and based on complete rubbish. The first one I heard nothing about and the second one has been allocated locally. I was wondering at what point do you completely switch off from them? As I am new they cause slight anxiety.
  5. james1clarke

    Should I Join?

    Hello All, So I've got a few questions that may be better suited to experienced officers, PCSO's or specials but I'd be grateful for anybody who's interested insight. It's a bit of a long one so bare with me. After a quite a long process I am now on the waiting list to begin initial training to become a Police Officer within West Mercia & Warwickshire Police. This is something I've wanted to do for many years now. However, I currently work for a properous young company with a lot of potential. I wouldn't say I love the job but I certainly don't hate it and I'm looked after there and it's highly doubtful I'd ever lose my job through redundancy or anything similar to this. It's worth noting that I applied to become a police officer before getting this posistion. Now, In the coming weeks/months I'm expecting an offer of employment from my chosen force. So as I mentioned, I'm looking for some insight. With all the negativity floating around a career In the force now what are your opinions on it? (preferably people with experience). I know things vary from force to force, but Could anybody tell me the realistic potential of promotion. And, is it a job for life? Are redundancies gaining to become an issue in coming years? I don't mean to be negative but I want to know the full picture before joining. Any advice, experience, insight would be greatly appreciated. Cheers, James.
  6. There’s a lot of content on this site about the MDP but I can’t find the information I’m looking for so here goes: I would like to hear from anyone who has recently completed their training in Essex and started the actual job. Can you give info on the following: At present it looks like those who are successful in completing their training at Essex will be serving their probation in Scotland. For those in this position how easy was it finding accommodation and what standard is it in general. What are the average rents being paid? What are you left with at the end of the month when you have paid-out your rent and day-to-day living costs etc? Did you receive any help at all in finding suitable accommodation from the MDP or are you left to do this yourself? Lastly, how are you finding the probation side of things? Thanks in advance for any information.

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