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- Anti-Social Behaviour
- Drug use and health and well-being
- New Psychoactive Substances (formerly known as “Legal Highs”) and health and well-being
- Understanding of hate crime and hidden harm
- Preventing violent extremism
Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) in all its forms is a very visible sign of disorder in our communities and is closely linked to perceptions of safety, satisfaction with the local areas as a place to live and confidence in local services. In its most persistent and serious form it can have a significant impact on health and wellbeing.
Despite dramatic falls in the numbers of incidents reported to the police, it remains the primary concern of local residents, and is linked to a wide range of other issues including hate crime, the night time economy, problem drug and alcohol use, mental health, family issues and housing.
Where are we now?
- The steady reduction in Anti-Social Behaviour incidents since 2011-12 may be levelling out.
- In 2014/15 there was a slight decrease in reports of rowdy, nuisance behaviour made to the Police.
- It is felt that the maintenance of these levels is in part due to the Anti-Social Behaviour Officers who are employed throughout Devon and who coordinate much of the activity to tackle this type of behaviour. They have a great deal of experience and expertise, encourage the widespread use of the ‘’Escalation Process’ and ensure very good partnership working between the various agencies in terms of both positive interventions and the use of legal powers.
- Anti-Social Behaviour peaks in July and August.
- 76% of Anti-Social Behaviour incidents are Rowdy/Nuisance Behaviour with vehicle ASB being the next most common at 11%.
- Generally Anti-Social Behaviour occurs mostly between 3.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m.
- The overall drop in reported incidence of Anti-Social Behaviour has been reflected in a reduction of Rowdy/Nuisance behaviour as a priority by local partnership teams. Speeding vehicles are now the main target – see the Have Your Say section in the Monitored Themes module.
What have we achieved this year?
East & Mid Devon
Funding is provided annually to Devon Mediation Services to provide support to communities where neighbourhood and neighbour issues can escalate towards anti-social behaviour.
Training on the new ASB legislation and internal processes within each District Council was provided to staff from a wide range of agencies including local police, social housing landlords and environmental health staff.
The ASB Escalation process continues to be overseen by dedicated officers within the CSP who arrange case conferences and oversee activities in order to reduce incidents of ASB. In East Devon over 2014/2015, 49 ASB warning letters were sent, 6 Acceptable Behaviour Contracts were signed and there were 2 Anti-Social Behaviour Orders imposed. In Mid Devon for the same period, 92 ASB warning letters were sent and 18 Acceptable Behaviour Contracts signed.
The Community Safety Officer in East Devon continued with his annual Autumnal Safety Campaign and sent letters to all 7 East Devon secondary schools asking for a copy to be sent to parents. This advises them to be aware of what their children are doing on Halloween and November 5th and the lead up to those two events, in order to reduce reports of anti-social behaviour and to keep their children safe.
- Funding given to mediation who offer services to victims of anti social behaviour
- A dedicated Police Officer from the Neighbourhood Police Team to lead on ASB issues. The officer has a workstation with the Environmental Health and Licensing office to use when working from the Civic Centre.
- The Anti Social Behaviour Action Team (ASBAT) meetings have been re-invigorated under a shared chair arrangement which has led to a re-engagement of a number of key partners.
- Work was conducted across Devon and Cornwall to have a common approach to new tools that were given to Local Authorities and Police under the new legislation.
- Work is currently taking place on a new Community Safety Partnership Strategy and Action Plan to be presented at the CSP Executive
- We are current on a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO)for the city centre This will replace existing Designated Public Place Orders (DPPO) and have prohibitions around groups, alcohol, drugs, NPS and early morning encampments, with the idea of moving rough sleepers on before shops open up in morning. This will go to the Council Committee in July and hope to get PSPO in place before the Rugby World Cup starts.
- CPN warning letters are working well and have issued one notice. These have been done for noise, bird feeding, untidy gardens and fly posting.
- Exeter CSP facilitated training for all relevant agencies on new Anti-Social Behaviour legislation.
- Alcohol awareness sessions were held as part of the Junior Life Skills programme
- The mobile CCTV camera continues to be deployed where appropriate.
South Devon and Dartmoor
Continued provision of ASB escalation service.
Supporting street and school pastors schemes in our area.
7 campaigns run using the ‘Name that Tag’ poster to address the incidence of graffiti.
Risk targeting data is reviewed at monthly ASB meetings. This uses frequent caller data from the emergency services and the Council to that identify the most vulnerable.
Two Phoenix projects delivered for ASB perpetrators in partnership with Devon and Somerset Fire Service.
2 bite size training sessions have been delivered to partner agencies on the new ASB legislation.
Teignbridge, 96% success rate for interventions i.e. the percentage of individuals who don’t come to attention again within a sixth month period. South Hams and West Devon – 91% were successful.
ASB addressed in targeted locations with one seeing a 33.1% reduction in ASB and the other a reduction of 34% following multi agency intervention.
Daily multi-agency ASB hub meetings held to discuss problems of Anti-Social Behaviour. The meeting considers the use of the escalation process alongside other strategies to offer a swift response to issues reported to our council or the police.
Funding given to mediation who offer services to victims of anti-social behaviour
Safer North Devon gave an anti-social behaviour input at the North Devon and Torridge Junior Lifeskills event, over a two week period.
Safer North Devon facilitated training for all relevant agencies on new Anti-Social Behaviour legislation. We have fully implemented the new act and are regularly using Community Protection Notices
Targeted Family Support programme
Youth Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour are mandatory criteria for the Targeted Family Support programme – see the Monitored Themes module.
Challenges for the year ahead
- Whilst the amount of reported anti-social behaviour continues to fall, nevertheless it remains a major concern to individuals and communities affected by such behaviour, and contribute to concerns about personal safety from those living in communities where ASB is prevalent. Therefore there is an on-going challenge to put in place ways of diverting young people into more productive activities, and finding ways to address the behaviour of those who do not respect their neighbours.
- There are seasonal peaks relating to ASB, which is not necessarily down to visitors, but may affect the way that Devon is perceived by tourists. Tackling such behaviour at a time when resources are already stretched continues to be a challenge.
It is estimated that repeat offending accounts for around a third of all recorded crime across the peninsula. Offenders are amongst the most socially excluded in society and often have complex and deep rooted health and social problems, such as substance misuse, mental health, homelessness and debt, family and financial problems. Understanding and addressing these underlying issues in a co-ordinated way plays a key role in reducing crime in the long term and breaking the cycle of offending behaviour from one generation to the next.
The principle aim of the Youth Justice System is to prevent offending by children and young people aged 10-17. The life chances of young people who receive a criminal conviction are adversely affected in both the short and long term. Evidence suggests that preventing the onset of offending and persistent reoffending will improve outcomes for those children and young people, their families and communities.
Devon Youth Offending Service is an example of effective integrated multi agency team-working in both its statutory court and supervision work, its pre-court work and is one of only a few Youth Offending Services nationally that still manages and delivers its own early intervention services, Youth Inclusion & Support Programme, which works to prevent offending behaviour.
- The level of offending by children and young people is relatively low in Devon and this year has continued to fall, 320 young people offended in 2014/15 (a 22% reduction on the previous year) committing a total of 645 offences (a reduction of 18% on the previous year).
- In addition to these young people we are seeing high numbers of young people being dealt with by Community Resolutions, Youth Restorative Disposals, which are not included in the above figures. In 2014/15 689 young people received Youth Restorative Disposals (a reduction of 21% on the previous year) for committing 785 offences (a reduction of 24% on the previous year).
- The most common types of offences committed in 2014 was violence against the person (25%), theft & handling (19%), drugs offences (14%) and criminal damage (12%).
- Whilst we continue to see significant reductions in both the total number of young people on youth offending caseloads and the number of first time entrants into the criminal justice system we are seeing proportionately more of the cases being complex in nature, with multiple needs e.g.
- known behavioural conditions
- complex Speech, Language & Communication Needs (SLCN)
- Children in Care
- Children with assessed vulnerability and/or risk of harms levels are increasing
The Transforming Rehabilitation Programme is an overarching criminal justice approach, underpinned by enhanced partnership working which is key to delivering a reduction in re-offending and protecting the public from future harm.
As part of these changes the former Devon & Cornwall Probation Trust ceased to exist from 31 May 2014, being replaced by Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Community Rehabilitation Company and the National Probation Service. From this point offenders are supervised by either the National Probation Service (NPS) if they pose a high risk of harm or there are significant public protection issues, or by the new Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs), if they pose a low or medium risk. The NPS will also be responsible for court work and for the preparation of court reports.
Medium and low risk offenders in Devon are supervised by the new Dorset, Devon and Cornwall CRC. Both the NPS and the CRC continue to have local delivery offices, some of which will be shared between the respective organisations. Offenders have been advised of the new arrangements and everything done to minimise the disruption to their supervision.
The other significant proposed change is the management of the short-term Automatic Unconditional Release (AUR) prisoners who on receipt of a least two days imprisonment will qualify for 12 months defined supervision. At present the AUR prisoner group do not receive supervision. This is a significant opportunity to now deal with this group who previously have had a very high reconviction rate and become part of the ‘revolving door’ problem and account for approx. 25% of the current offender group at area level (Devon and Cornwall) something in the region of 1,200 offenders.
The CRC is responsible for commissioning a range of offender-based services that are applicable to both offenders from the NPS and CRC. CRC will seek to work alongside a range of critical partners in supporting current initiatives such as Targeted Troubled Families and Making Every Adult Matter, thus linking into community safety initiatives. An example of these is the deployment of Engage Community Support Hubs which are to be rolled out across Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. Turnaround IOM, which has achieved much success in targeting persistent offenders, will complement the delivery of Targeted Troubled Families in focusing on inappropriate adults that are found within identified households where criminality is an issue. As a direct result of Transforming Rehabilitation and the on-going requirement to reduce re-offending the CRC will use a range of data including existing data from the NPS, new data that is in the process of being devised by the CRC itself along with a range of partnership data so as to measure performance. This will also link the objectives of health and Criminal Justice, ensuring an integrated service and a tasked response is achieved that is both timely and cost efficient in meeting the needs of complex Service Users who present with a high criminogenic profile.
|Ministry of Justice Adult Reoffending Rates|
|Current figures refer to the 12 month period ending 31 December 2013 – Ministry of Justice data dated May 2014|
|Actual rate of re-offending|
|Percentage difference between expected reoffending rate and actual rate – Negative scores are better than expected|
What have we achieved this year?
Devon Youth Offending Service is an effective example of integrated multi agency team-working in both its statutory court and supervision work, its pre-court work and is one of only a few Youth Offending Services nationally that still manages and delivers its own early intervention services, Youth Inclusion & Support Programme, which works to prevent offending behaviour.
Devon continues to perform well in terms of reducing the number of First Time Entrants to the Youth Justice System (FTEs).
Devon has continued to perform well in terms of its Custody Rate and is proud to have one of the lowest rates nationally.
Targeted Family Support programme
Youth Crime is a mandatory criterion for the Targeted Family Support programme – see the Monitored Themes module.
No information this year.
Challenges for the year ahead
Potential funding reductions imposed from partner agencies will impact upon the Youth Offending Service capacity and capability in the future. Safeguarding and Risk of Harm Management, together with the management of statutory Court Orders and cases must remain a priority. However, it is vital that specialist interventions and support to statutory case-work is maintained in order for interventions to reduce the risk of re-offending and the risk of harm to be effective.
Whilst funding early intervention programmes is not a statutory duty there is a risk that youth offending rates could rise as a result of reduced Youth Crime Prevention / Early Intervention capacity. This may impact on First Time Entrants, Re-offending and Custody rates over a period of time, resulting in more youth crime and more young people the justice system, thereby placing greater demand on statutory services.
The Probation Service has completed the large restructure outlined above and will hopefully be able to provide data and information in future years.
|Mortality Rates Related to Drugs Poisoning|
|Office of National Statistics 1993-2014 produced in Sept 2015 – SW region compared to England.|
Mortality rate per 1m people due to drugs poisoning – 1993-2014 – Bars represent the SW Region.
|Since 1999 the SW has had a mortality rate higher than the English figure. Both the SW and England figures had been falling steadily from a peak in 2008 but there was a sharp rise in 2013 which England has maintained in 2014 but the SW has stabilised.|
Drug use and drug dependence are known causes of premature mortality, with drug poisoning accounting for nearly one in seven deaths among people in their 20s and 30s in 2013. Drug-related deaths occur in a variety of circumstances, each with different social and policy implications. Consequently, there is considerable political, media and public interest in these figures.
The table covers accidents and suicides involving drug poisonings, as well as deaths from drug abuse and drug dependence. It doesn’t include other adverse effects of drugs (for example, anaphylactic shock). Drug poisoning deaths involve a broad spectrum of substances, including legal and illegal drugs, prescription drugs (either prescribed or obtained by other means) and over-the-counter medications. Some of these deaths may also be because of complications of drug abuse, such as deep vein thrombosis or septicaemia from intravenous drug use, rather than an acute drug overdose.
The figures are for deaths registered each year, rather than deaths occurring each year. Almost all drug-related deaths are certified by a coroner. Due to the length of time it takes a coroner to complete an inquest, just over half of drug-related deaths registered in 2013 will have actually occurred prior to 2013.
Drug Misuse and health
National and regional statistics show that illicit drug use is falling, particularly heroin and crack use. Public Health England states “that when in engaged in treatment, people use less drugs, commit less crime, improve their health, and manage their lives better – which also benefits the community.” It is estimated that any heroin or crack user not in treatment commits crime costing an average £26,074 a year and around 1.2 million people (adults and children) are affected by drug addiction in their families – mostly in poor communities.
In Devon, RISE (Recovery Integrated Service) offers a range of community-based treatment options and access to inpatient detoxification and residential rehabilitation for substance misuse (both alcohol and drugs) with a much greater focus on assisting people towards sustainable recovery.
- 1,397 adults were engaged in effective treatment (staying in treatment for more than 12 weeks), over 85% were opiate users
- 44% of referrals into treatment for new entrants were self-referrals while 127 (31%) referrals were from the Criminal Justice System
- 42% of people in drug treatment in Devon are either unemployed/economically inactive –lower than the national proportion of 53%
- 30% of people in drug treatment are long term sick or disabled almost double the proportion nationally (16%)
- 16% (64) had an urgent housing problem – almost double the proportion nationally
- There was a successful completion rate of 16% with 91% of these who did not return to treatment within 6 months
- 48% of people had been in treatment for two years or more.
- 396 individuals (27%) were living with children (either their own or other) while 28% were parents not living with children
For 2015-2016 there is a continuing emphasis on moving people through treatment towards recovery according to their need. At the same time there is a recognition that there are groups of people for whom recovery, including abstinence, employment etc, is very distant, particularly those with complex or multiple needs and criminogenic backgrounds. Public Health Devon, with support from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, is looking to explore different ways of working with these individuals and to embed this practice into the RISE treatment system within one year.
 Public Health England. (2015) Drug data: JSNA support pack. Key data to support planning for effective drugs prevention, treatment and recovery in 2015-2016 – Devon.
 Public Health England. Alcohol and drugs, prevention, treatment and recovery: why invest?
The United Nations define New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) as “substances of abuse, either in a pure form or a preparation, that are not controlled by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs or the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, but which may pose a public health threat”. The term “new” does not necessarily refer to new inventions — several NPS were first synthesized 40 years ago or more — but to substances that have recently emerged on the market and which have not been scheduled under the above Conventions.
The term ‘legal’ is misleading. Many of these substances are quickly made illegal and the public view “legal” as “safe” which then influences the perception of health risks. ‘High’ emphasises the pleasurable and enjoyable effects whereas taking unknown substances can be risky as there is no way of knowing what is in them and some have been found to contain not only substances harmful to health such as bleach but also in some cases illegal substances.
In recent years, there has been increased concern nationally, internationally and locally about the rising levels of people using New (or Novel) Psychoactive Substances (“NPS”). This is because of the potentially harmful effects NPS use has on the health and well-being of individuals, and on society in general. UK and European legislation on various NPS compounds has tried, and failed, to keep up with the rapid developments in NPS products and supply chains, and is now preparing to legislate on a more wholesale basis against these substances. Further new legislation is to be expected in the UK, later in 2015 and as such NPS continue to be a local and a national priority.
|New Psychoactive Substances Identified Globally 2009- Dec 13 (Cumulative)|
|Substances Identified Each Year|
|Source: United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime 2014|
The European Monitoring Centre for Drug and Drug Addictions (“EMCDDA”) has detected an increase in the number of different NPS across Europe, with 101 new NPS detected in 2014 alone. These newly emerging NPS products have been dominated by new synthetic cannabinoids, however, in comparison with more traditional illicit drugs, we know little about the actual usage of these substances: who is using them, how often and how they are taking them. There is a growing body of evidence locally that the use of NPS is causing anti-social behaviour, exacerbating or causing mental and physical health problems amongst those using them.
 Government Response to the New Psychoactive Substances Review Expert Panel Report. October 2014. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/368498/ResponseNPSreviewExpertPanelReport.pdf
 The Psychoactive Substances Bill will prohibit and disrupt the production, distribution, sale and supply of new psychoactive substances (NPS) in the UK. They are often sold online or on the high street. Home Office 29th May 2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/blanket-ban-to-clamp-down-on-legal-highs
 European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. (2015) European Drug Report. Trends and Developments. Page 33. http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/attachements.cfm/att_239505_EN_TDAT15001ENN.pdf
NPS are “drugs which mimic, or are claimed to mimic, the effects of illegal drugs”. They can be pills, in powder form, smoking material and single plant/material extract. Many claim to give a similar effect as illegal drugs and they often have names which bear no relation to the compound, and ‘humorous’ names are common, eg Toxic Waste, Herbal Haze. Many NPS have different names depending on where or how they are bought. Increasingly NPS are conflated with “club drugs” including ecstasy and ketamine which are illegal substances. They are mostly synthetic substances produced in laboratories, with evidence suggesting these are mainly in China and India although increasingly, small labs have been found in the UK. The chemical components can be quickly altered to get around legislation (see table below re newly notified NPS to the European Early Warning system) Evidence is emerging that NPS can cause serious problems for some people who use them regularly and particularly when used in combination with alcohol or other drugs. Admissions to hospital due to NPS toxicity are increasing and many professionals report they do not have sufficient knowledge of the side effects. Advice on safe(r) use to potential users of NPS is possible and treatment services are well placed to offer harm reduction advice. The Novel Psychoactive Treatment UK Network (NEPTUNE) has produced clinical guidance to manage the acute and chronic harms of club drugs and NPS.
Public Health Devon, in conjunction with Torbay colleagues, has drafted a high level strategy to address NPS across Devon and Torbay. This strategy is underpinned by a more detailed action plan to explore and address: tackling supply and use, prevention, monitoring and information sharing, responses to acute NPS problems, interventions and treatment, competence in working with NPS users, and NPS use in prisons and the secure estate. We are working with a range of organisations including Treatment and Housing providers, Young People’s services, Police, Community Safety, Mental Health Services, Trading Standards, Probation and the Community Rehabilitation Company, prisons, Public Health England and hospitals across the area. Since April 2013 the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) database has required treatment providers to collect data of NPS use from everyone entering substance misuse treatment and it is hoped that this will become available from 2015-2016. It is still difficult to gain a clear picture of NPS use across the area as many people using them will not be in treatment and there is inconsistent collection of data across other organisations.
 NEPTUNE Guidance on the Clinical Management of Acute and Chronic Harms of Club Drugs and NPS (p.10), 2015. http://neptune-clinical-guidance.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/NEPTUNE-Guidance-March-2015.pdf
|New Psychoactive Substances Newly Notified to the European Early Warning System since 2005|
|Substances Identified Each Year|
|Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) 2015|
Hate crimes are any crimes that are targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards that person’s:
- race or ethnicity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
- transgender identity
- other perceived difference
A victim does not have to be a member of the group at which the hostility is targeted. In fact, anyone can be a victim of a hate crime.
Hate crime can have an enormous impact, not just on the individual victim but on families and friends and on whole communities.
Where are we now?
Ongoing cuts mean that there continues to be no central coordination of hate crime prevention work in Devon, apart from the organisation of Hate Crime Awareness Week, but the Police, with the support of District Safety Partnerships, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Voluntary and Community sector, continue to lead on the following priorities:
- Encouraging reporting
- Raising awareness of hate crime and its impacts
- Continuing to build trust with communities that are vulnerable to hate crime
- Ensuring that victims of hate crime receive the support that they need
Hate Crime Reporting
We recognise that one of the ongoing challenges around hate crime, both nationally and locally, is the issue of under-reporting, with research suggesting that less than 20% of hate crimes and incidents are actually reported to the police.
Given this context, the figures below which show a small overall increase in the number of reports received over the last year – from 566 to 583 – can be seen as a positive indicator. This is particularly evident from the 25.9% increase in the number of Disablist crimes and incidents reported which suggests that work to raise awareness of the importance of reporting, led mainly by the police and local community groups, is helping to build trust and confidence.
The small increases in the numbers of Transphobic and Homophobic crimes reported can also be seen as a positive reflection of the partnership work being undertaken
In 2014, the national charity Stop Hate UK, with the support of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), extended their 24/7 Stop Hate Line service throughout Devon and Cornwall allowing victims and witnesses to report Hate Crimes and Discrimination via Phone, Text, Web-chat, Email, Post, Text-Relay and Interactive BSL Interpreter. Service users receive the support of trained Helpline operators who will discuss options and where consent is provided, refer onwards to partner agencies. http://www.stophateuk.org/2014/09/01/devon-cornwall-pcc-commissions-stop-hate-uk/
This independent reporting service complements Police funded Hate Crime reporting website, True Vision (http://www.report-it.org.uk/home )
Although the primary responsibility for responding to hate crime lies with the police, tackling hate crime is an issue for all of us. Devon and Cornwall Police have been working hard to develop a new Independent Advisory Framework in order to make the fullest use of the expertise and experience that is available in local communities.
Two key components of the IAF which are having a positive impact on trust and confidence in the police are the Local Reference Group (LRG) and the Hate Crime Scrutiny Panel. The former, the LRG, meets regularly and brings together the Police and representatives from many of the specialist voluntary and community organisations which support communities vulnerable to hate crime.
The Hate Crime Scrutiny Panel, which consists of hate crime leads from each of the Local Policing Areas, also meets regularly to scrutinise recent hate crime cases from all over Devon with the aim of making sure that all hate crimes are investigated properly and all victims receive appropriate support.
Raising Awareness of Hate Crime
In October 2014, the Safer Devon Partnership funded Devon’s participation in a National Hate Crime Awareness Week. It was extremely encouraging to see so many organisations from all sectors involved in putting on activities and events aimed at raising awareness of Devon’s diversity and helping more people to understand what Hate Crime is, how to respond to it and how to encourage reporting.
The Police, District Councils, Exeter City Council and Devon County Council were all involved but most of the work was done by local voluntary and community sector organisations who organised a varied programme of training workshops, presentations, debates and activities that bought together people from all over the county. In total, 28 different 3rd sector organisations were involved in the programme and the overwhelmingly positive feedback means that Devon will be involved again in October 2015.
Another high-profile awareness raising initiative in Devon is the “Local Heroes campaign”. Local Heroes is an education initiative, led by the Police and delivered through schools, to change young people’s attitudes and inspire them to become responsible citizens. Roadshows have helped to raise awareness of hate crime and give young people the confidence to recognise, challenge and report it.
|Devon & Cornwall Constabulary Data – Torbay data is included with South Hams & Teignbridge, North Devon, Torridge & West Devon are grouped together as is East Devon, Exeter & Mid Devon.|
|Racist crimes and incidents (no data at this geography 2014-15)|
|Racist Crimes and incidents|
|Homophobic crimes and incidents|
|Disablist crimes and incidents|
|Transphobic crimes and incidents|
|Faith crimes and incidents|
Support for victims
In response to a victims’ needs assessment undertaken by the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner a new service has been put in place for victims of crime in Devon that marks a significant change in victim care, with the establishment of a police based victim care unit and a network of support service providers.
The Victim Care Unit (VCU) started operating, within the Devon and Cornwall Police, from 1st April 2015. This unit provides immediate support and referral on to organisations with consent. It acts as a source of immediate support and information for all victims and has a mix of both police and third sector specialists.
A key feature of the VCU has been establishment of a network of victim care providers, many of them local 3rd sector organisations with specialist knowledge of Devon’s diverse communities. This is a welcome innovation for victims of hate crime who now have access to appropriate and expert support.
The Prevent Strategy which was launched in 2007 (and reviewed in 2011) seeks to stop people becoming violent extremists or supporting terrorism. It is the preventative area of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST. It has 3 main objectives:
- Prevent individuals from being drawn into terrorism and violent extremism and ensuring they are given appropriate support and advice
- Working with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation which need to be addressed
- Responding to the extremist ideological challenge and those who promote it.
The aim of PREVENT is to make Devon a hostile place for extremists, terrorists and radicalisers to operate and provide support to those individuals susceptible to radicalisation.
Extremist views that result in violent action can come from a number of different sources, right and left wing politics, religion, and animal rights are some of the most obvious, but there could be others who believe that the only way they are to achieve their aims is through violence. Avoiding terrorism is important, but the impact of expressing radical views should not be underestimated as they feed community tensions and ‘open the wound’.
In 2015 the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act was published which gave specified bodies the statutory responsibility to due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. Specified bodies include local authorities, education as well as other key public service agencies. The new statutory requirement has given added impetus to what was already being put in place in Devon. The Devon and Torbay Prevent Steering Group provides an opportunity for representatives from a wide range of bodies to share their experience and to work together to keep Devon safe.
The referral process for statutory and third sector agencies and members of public to refer individuals thought to be vulnerable to radicalisation is known as “Channel”.
Where concern is raised about an individual, their risk of radicalisation is assessed using a multi-agency process. In most cases this review identifies vulnerabilities other than radicalisation, and the individual is signposted to safeguarding agencies for support.
A small proportion of referrals present an ongoing risk of radicalisation, and their case is adopted into the Channel process. Local Authority led, partnership groups review adopted Channel cases and identify appropriate safeguarding interventions.
Most adopted Channel cases are complex, involving many agencies working together to design unique interventions and support for a range of overlapping vulnerabilities, in order to mitigate both the ‘pull’ towards radicalisation and the ‘push’ away from mainstream society.
|Preventing Violent Extremism|
|Data refers to Devon and Torbay combined. Current figures refer to Channel referrals during the 12 month period ending 31 March 2015.|
|Levels of referrals||21 referrals (of which 1 was adopted by Channel – adoption rate 4.3%).|
|National comparison||Despite varying volumes of referrals across the country, key themes locally mirror the national themes (e.g. Mental Health, Internet/Gaming, Extreme Right Wing).|
|Annual change||Referrals decreased by 24 (-53%) compared to 2013/2014. There are early signs that 2015-16 will be busier.|
|Breakdown of referral themes (excluding Channel)|
|Referrals to Channel by agencies|
|Exit Signposting from Channel to agencies|
|People and places|
· Most of those referred were for international terrorism.
· Over 50% of those referred were white British.
· The majority of referrals were aged under 20 (last year it was between 21-40 years).
· Nearly all of those referred were men.
· Online and remote radicalisation makes those in remote communities vulnerable, with limited access to alternative narratives
· Key places for early intervention include educational establishments and health agencies.
· Community tension about immigration, deprivation and support for extreme right wing can indicate vulnerability to extremist narratives