Violent and sexual offenders are being identified better and managed more effectively through the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA), Baroness Scotland, Minister for Criminal Justice and Offender Management said today.
This is the fourth year in which annual reports by the 42 Responsible Areas in England and Wales have been published. They highlight the work undertaken through MAPPA to protect communities from the risk posed by dangerous offenders.
Baroness Scotland said:
"How we actively manage violent and sexual offenders to reduce as much as possible the risk they pose is one of the most important questions facing the criminal justice system. MAPPA represents a big leap forward in the way we protect our communities from re-offending by violent and sex offenders.
"There has been widespread take-up of the new measures which were introduced in 2004, giving the public protection agencies additional tools to take preventative action against offenders. Good examples include the high number of sexual offences prevention orders granted and the number of high risk offenders returned to prison for breach of licence.
"Violent and sexual offenders present complex challenges and MAPPA enables police, probation and prisons, to work together with education, housing, health and social services to come up with more comprehensive, robust risk management plans. In 2004/5, of the nearly 45,000 offenders who fell within the MAPPA, just under 13,000 of the higher risk offenders were actively managed at level 2 and 3.
"During 2004/5 all police forces implemented ViSOR - a new computer database that supports the sharing of key information across the country concerning this group of offenders. ViSOR will be rolled out to the Prison and Probation Services over the next two years to support information sharing across these three key agencies.
"MAPPA's continuing success has been enhanced by the appointment of 75 lay advisors over the last 12 months. As ordinary members of the public they represent a community interest in public protection, encouraging public knowledge and confidence in the arrangements
"It is clear from the Annual Reports that MAPPA is going from strength to strength. By using a multi-layered approach and access to increasingly more sophisticated measures, MAPPA is working to ensure we are more likely to effectively intervene than ever before to protect the public."
Roger Hill, National Probation Service Director General, said:
"The annual reports published today show that collaborative working across the key agencies better protects the public from dangerous offenders in our communities. There have been encouraging developments in the effectiveness of MAPPA over the last four years, both at a national and regional level and I am sure that this will continue in the future."
Terry Grange, ACPO lead on violent crime and Chief Constable of Dyfed Powys Police said:
"The Police have continued to actively engage with MAPPA in order to ensure that violent and sexual offenders are identified and managed effectively. The increase in the number of registered sex offenders was anticipated and the use of new and existing powers assist a range of agencies to enforce compliance and registration. The risk offenders pose will never be completely eradicated but our ability to manage information has improved greatly by the introduction of the Violent and Sex Offenders Register (VISOR), a national database linking every police force in the United Kingdom. This year's annual reports clearly show that a partnership approach is both effective and crucial in bringing together a range of specialist skills and experience across a range of agencies charged with the management of sexual and violent offenders, thereby reducing risk to the communities we serve."
MAPPA was established in 2001 to provide a statutory framework for collaborative working in order to assess and manage violent and sexual offenders in England and Wales. Police, probation and prisons work together in a formal way, supported by other agencies such as housing, health and Social Services, to manage the risk dangerous offenders can pose to the public.
In 2004/05, 44,592 offenders in England and Wales were covered by MAPPA arrangements. This included 28,994 Registered Sex Offenders (RSO), an 18 per cent increase on last year. Sex offender registration can last a minimum of two years but many offenders will be on the register for life.
The number of offenders who are deemed to pose the highest risk of causing serious harm, the 'critical few', who require multi-agency co-operation at a senior level and are referred to a Multi-Agency Public Protection Panel (MAPPP) has reduced by 31 per cent to 1,478. This reduction indicates a better understanding of the level of management required for different offenders.
Notes to editors:
1. The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act (2000) established the MAPPA and placed them on a statutory basis. The Criminal Justice Act (2003) re-enacted and strengthened those provisions. The legislation requires the Police, Prison and Probation Services (acting jointly as the 'Responsible Authority') in each of the 42 areas of England and Wales:
- to establish arrangements for assessing and managing the risks posed by sexual and violent offenders;
- to review and monitor the arrangements;
- as part of the reviewing and monitoring arrangements, to prepare and publish an annual report on their operation.
2. A range of other agencies have also been placed under a duty to co-operate with the Responsible Authority. These include:
- Local Authority Social Services
- Primary Care Trusts, other NHS Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities
- Jobcentres Plus
- Youth Offending Teams
- Registered Social Landlords which accommodate MAPPA offenders
- Local Housing Authorities
- Local Education Authorities
- Electronic Monitoring providers
3. The Criminal Justice Act also introduced the appointment of two lay advisors to each strategic management board that review the MAPPA.
4. MAPPA is the term to describe the arrangements set up locally to assess and manage offenders who pose a risk of serious harm. National MAPPA guidance indicates that offenders can be managed at one of three levels:
Level 1: MAPPA activity at Level 1 involves a single agency, most commonly the Probation Service, managing an offender without the active or significant involvement of other agencies to address risk issues
Level 2: Referral to this level is made where the active involvement of more than one agency is required to address risk. Some offenders posing the highest risks can be managed through referral at Level 2 where the management plans are not complex and do not need the commitment of resources at a senior level. Although Level 2 risk meetings are referred to by different names their function is the same.
Level 3: Level 3 activity meetings are known in all Areas as the Multi-Agency Public Protection Panel (or MAPPP). The 'critical few' cases referred to the MAPPP are those of offenders who pose the highest risks of causing serious harm or whose management is so problematic that multi-agency co-operation at a senior level is required.
5. There are three categories of offenders managed through MAPPA.
Cat 1: Registered sex offenders whose sexual offenders required to register under the terms of the Sex Offender Act (1997) and its amendments;
Cat 2: Violent and other sex offenders who are not required to register and generally have received a sentence of imprisonment or detention for 12 months or more;
Cat 3: Offenders who do not fall into categories 1 or 2, but because of the offences committed by them (wherever they have been committed) are considered to pose a risk of serious harm to the public
6. The number of Level 2 offenders has not been available in previous years because this is the first full year that Areas have applied this differentiation of risk management meeting nationally. The structure for MAPPA was published in National MAPPA Guidance in April 2003.
7. Sexual Offences Prevention Orders, Notification Orders and Foreign Travel Orders are intervention tools that restrict the behaviour of offenders and can be applied for through the courts with the intention of preventing them committing serious further offences.
Sexual Offences Prevention Orders restrict behaviour and can be used where an offender with a conviction or caution for an offence listed in Schedule 3 poses a risk of serious sexual harm. It does not matter when the conviction or caution was received.
Notification Orders require sexual offenders from abroad to register with police, in order to protect the public in the UK from the risks posed by sex offenders who have been convicted abroad.
Foreign Travel Orders prevent offenders with convictions for sexual offences against children from travelling abroad where there is evidence that they intend to commit sexual offences against children abroad.
A breach of these orders, without reasonable excuse, is a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment.
8. Copies of the 42 MAPPA reports are available at www.probation.homeoffice.gov.uk in the Public Protection section.