Offender Management Unit
The Integrated Offender Management unit (IOM) is based at Bournemouth Police Station. At any given time, they deal with around 80 of the most prolific acquisitive offenders in Dorset, the majority are, or have been, dwelling burglars or car thieves..
These are deemed to be higher-risk cases, because there is high potential for reoffending, but lower risk in terms of levels of physical harm to people, because offenders managed through this scheme are not usually violent. Nevertheless offenders under the supervision of the IOM are identified as a group causing disproportional harm to the community, due to the regular and repeat nature of their offending.
The IOM works alongside a number of agencies to manage offenders. This includes meeting with local drug agencies, local council services, such as housing, and the probation service. They also liaise with offender managers within the prison service. Where necessary, they can gather intelligence on offenders and organise Force activity targeting prolific offenders who don’t reform. Officers on the team try to maintain a one-to-one relationship with offenders, with a view to preventing further crimes being committed.
Other types of offenders, such as those with a history of repeat violence or sexual offences, are managed through a different process called MAPPA (Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements), which will be explained in more detail in October.
The majority of acquisitive crimes are committed to fund a drug addiction. It is therefore important that the IOM team work closely with their partner agencies to ensure that offenders are getting the help they need to stay off drugs, thus reducing the levels of acquisitive crime in Dorset.
It is very difficult to put an exact figure on the cost of a potential crime and exactly how much public money the IOM unit are saving. However, three months prior to one offender being placed under the supervision of the offender management unit, three crimes were committed amounting to £13,824. Since adoption, this offender has had one relapse and committed one offence costing society £4,608.
Voluntary GPS tagging
There are a number of ways the IOM proactively helps reduce crime. One of these is through the use of GPS tagging. These are placed on offenders on a voluntary basis and monitor their location 24/7, saving the police time and resources.
Although voluntary, a GPS tag serves to benefit both the police and the offender wearing it. Various parts of an offender's license conditions can be relaxed if they opt to wear a tag and it allows them to build trust with the police and partner agencies.
It also deters offending, as offenders know they can be monitored, and in a few cases where bail conditions have been breached, evidence from the tags can help in court.
The IOM currently have a number of tags, one of which is being used by a convicted dwelling burglar. In the last 33 years he has been convicted of more than 39 offences. Currently out on license, he has been wearing the tag for 10 months and in this time he has got a job and kept away from crime.
The ex-offender was keen to share his story to encourage others to take up the scheme, but does not want to be named, so that he can continue to change his lifestyle and continue working.
He said: “When I got out of prison, there was an opportunity to wear a GPS tracker. At first I never took it because I thought it would restrict me, but after volunteering to put it on I have found it to help. Within the first three to six months you have your bad days where you want to go out and commit crime, but having the tracker stops you from doing this.”
When asked what he thinks about the tracker he added: “I think it is the right thing to be doing for the public. It puts people who are not willing to stay away from crime back in prison, and people who want to get on with their lives like myself are allowed to do so. I personally think it’s a good system and everyone who gets out of prison should be given one.”