How to Reduce Crime

How to Reduce Crime – what YOU can do to help.

Now this is a hot topic of course, why wouldn’t it be when we hear so much everyday on the subject of how our streets aren’t safe from violent youths that will rob and attack you at the drop of a hat ?

Is this true though ? And what can be done to counteract this onslaught of youth unrest ? More importantly, on an individual level, what can the public do to help reduce crime ?

The public do not have to leave things to the state to deal with[apart from their legal obligations and duties of course and we are not advocating any vigilante activity either – just to be clear], what the public can do is take responsibility for what they contribute to their society and the communities within it. Those people that are employers, recruiters or anyone connected to acquiring employees in any capacity can take the obvious[in our opinion and in line with logical reasoning]and employ ex-offenders.

So the idea of helping young people, especially/specifically young ex-offenders, might not be one that is foremost in many peoples’ minds…apart from those that understand the triggers that cause young people to offend that is.

There are many causes of offending and I’m not suggesting for one moment that it’s not anything to do with the offender themselves, of course they have their part to play, they are doing the offending, but there are also external factors that act as triggers and the compounded effect of these factors is what can often lead an individual to committing a crime.

Such external factors are things like environment, both where the person lives & spends much of their time – their peer groups, friends and associates – their financial situation is a big influence – and of course their belief system, the way they look at life and how they have developed their own values from their own experiences and that which they have been told is right or wrong by the people they have grown up with and looked to for advice and guidance.

It has been proven in numerous cases and is certainly true in my experience that if a young person  has a stable foundation, that being a safe place to live, a sufficient source of income and can occupy their minds/time with meaningful, interesting and enjoyable activities, they are far less likely to offend. Whereas in contrast, if someone has an unstable/unfriendly environment to live in, not enough money to live on and are bored through having nothing to occupy themselves with, their likelihood of offending is dramatically increased.

So what do we do to help reduce crime ?

Well, with an estimated yearly cost of around £12bn to businesses throughout the UK and the UK economy – according to industry experts – reducing crime is a major concern and like it or not, the employment of ex-offenders is key to this aim.

It is illogical to assume that all ex-offenders have no skills to offer the workforce. Moreover, ex-offenders are a potential source of skills and it makes absolute sense for us to explore this source as a valuable addition to the working community and their unbiased inclusion in the recruitment process is vital for this to be achieved and indeed to be fair to all.

In the West Midlands, in 2010, the campaign called the OnTrak programme was led by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), backed by the regional European Social Fund and funded to run until December 2011. The campaign was intended to raise awareness of the importance of the employment of ex-offenders.

Was that campaign successful ? Well, it did raise awareness but there’s still a long way to go for us to reach the point where ex-offenders really are included in the employment/recruitment process.

As it is estimated that one fifth of the working population has a criminal record, if we do not include these people without bias, we are wasting one fifth of the potential workforce.

Does this make economic sense ? Not in my opinion or that of anyone in possession of the ability to think logically.

David Pruden, for the NOMS OnTrak programme, said: “Employers like to think they are enlightened about such matters, but evidence suggests that they are less likely to select a person for a job if they have a criminal record.

“In doing so, they are missing out on a significant talent pool and we often find they are pleasantly surprised about the strengths in terms of both skills and behaviours that many offenders have to offer.”

With the backing of a number of local employers, the NOMS OnTrak programme worked with about 750 offenders and ex-offenders in the region – both in and out of prison – to raise skills levels and support them on the road to finding employment.

The programme aimed to provide support to 3,600 offenders by the end of 2011.

Leading the way for the employers, the Intercontinental Hotels Group was involved in an innovative project providing catering skills training and work experience to offenders at prisons around the UK.

The fact that this particular training course takes place in prison means that offenders have a chance to improve their skills before seeking employment and a support package of pre-employment training and help with job seeking is also provided.

The NOMS programme in the West Midlands was delivered by a number of partners including local probation services and SOVA, the leading national voluntary organisation that provides support to socially excluded people and JHP Training.

Ruth Coates, OnTrak project manager at SOVA, said: “Our volunteers work hard to get ex-offenders ready to enter the world of work and become productive and responsible members of society. But if there are no employment opportunities available to them, or they come up against prejudice, it can be a real blow to their confidence and they may reoffend. That is why it’s so vital that employers in the region get on board with the OnTrak programme – it is to everyone’s benefit that ex-offenders are given a genuine chance to make a fresh start.”

So to conclude, by not employing ex-offenders, employers are missing out on a significant pool of employees…and why ? Through ignorance maybe ?

We will continue to raise the awareness of this and similar such issues ongoingly and we will not rest until those ex-offenders that are motivated to gain employment, get the chance to prove themselves, the chance they deserve.

If you are an employer and want to get involved with the employment of ex-offenders then please do contact us here to find out more of what you can do to work with The RWF on reducing crime.

Roger Blackman

If you want to personally help reduce crime, click here and give just £5 to create £35 of social return through our work. Or more !

Help us reduce crime

  1. Hi !
    We recently started following one another on Twitter.
    I found your post very interesting but it has left me wondering how the NOMS OnTrak programme is proceeding.
    Can you give me an update?
    Also given your background you might find the LeRoy Tales featured on my blog interesting/amusing, please take a look and let me know.

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