Repeat crime a top priority

Denise Ogden
Denise Ogden

A NEW strategy to drive down Hartlepool’s bad record of re-offending is being produced.

The town currently as the second worst rate in the country for criminals who go on to commit more crime.

The Safer Hartlepool Partnership is working on a new strategy for the next three years to offer more support to offenders and drive the rate down.

It top three objectives are to improve the paths to direct offenders away from crime, understand offending behaviour better and making sure local services are co-ordinated that meets the needs of offenders and protects communities.

The Safer Hartlepool Partnership includes the police, fire and probation services, clinical commissioning group and local councils.

The partnership says crime an disorder rates have reduced year on year for the last seven years.

In 2012, anti-social behaviour went down by almost a quarter.

But a report stated: “Compared to our local peers Hartlepool continues to have the second highest crime and anti-social behaviour rate across the Cleveland force area, and in terms of re-offending, according to the Ministry of Justice single proven re-offending measure Hartlepool has the second highest re-offending rate nationally.”

In October 2012, Hartlepool was the worst place in the country for re-offending, with more than a third of offenders ending up back in court.

The majority of today’s re-offenders are adult men aged 21-31.

There has also been a spike in 18-year-olds committing more crime.

The draft strategy says people given short jail sentences of less than a year get no statutory support on their release.

The Reducing Re-offending Strategy went before the latest meeting of the Hartlepool’s Health and Wellbeing Board.

Councillor Chris Simmons said: “It is really key to try to break this revolving door of despair that these young people are in.”

Denise Ogden, the council’s director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, said offenders released from prison needed to have somewhere to live.

She said: “If they haven’t got a bed when they come out, the first thing they are going to do is re-offend.”

The final draft of the strategy is due to be adopted by the Safer Hartlepool Partnership in October.