Partnership approach to targeting causes of crime in Norfolk offers offenders a ‘Pathway Out’
Life after drugs will be in focus over the coming year as a programme of work tackling key issues which cause crime in Norfolk is expanded.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN), working as part of the Greater Norwich ADDER* programme, today announces it will be working with St Giles Trust to deliver the ‘Pathway Out’ project - an important part of the joint approach to reducing drug-related crime.
The new project, which will run over two financial years, will provide education, training and employment opportunities to those coming into contact with the criminal justice system, or at risk of doing so, where there is a link to drug misuse or supply. By helping them to imagine and strive for a different future, the project seeks to encourage participants away from drug activity, reducing offending and disrupting supply chains.
Funding for the Pathway Out project is being made available by the Department for Work and Pensions East Anglia and Norfolk County Council Public Health through its ADDER funding. Having won the Pathway Out delivery contract, a St Giles Trust support worker will help participants access opportunities to gain skills and experience with the aim of securing employment, improving their drug recovery prospects and reducing the likelihood they will reoffend.
The OPCCN already works with St Giles Trust to deliver Norfolk’s WONDER+** project – helping female offenders to address the issues which make them vulnerable to committing crime. Since its launch in March 2018, over 800 women have been referred to the service for help with issues such as mental health and wellbeing, homelessness, domestic and sexual abuse, unemployment, debt and substance misuse.
A recent project report showed that WONDER+ clients who completed the programme were less likely to reoffend and that, as a result of the positive changes they had made in their lives, would place less demand on public services in the future.
Thanks to funding from the OPCCN, Norfolk County Council Public Health and St Giles Trust, WONDER+ has been extended to March 2022, with the impact of drugs being a key focus for the project in the coming year.
Norfolk’s newly-elected Police and Crime Commissioner, Giles Orpen-Smellie said: “I’m a firm believer in reducing crime by tackling its root causes.
“That’s the strength of both the Pathway Out and WONDER projects – they help people not just acknowledge and address the causes of their offending behaviour but also take the first steps on a different, more positive path in life.
“These are two great examples of partnership working - something I am very keen to support as Norfolk’s PCC. Organisations coming together to tackle key issues affecting our county, each bringing to the table their own skills and expertise, ensuring the best use of resources. By following that approach, we have the potential to have a much greater effect on the ground in the interests of everyone in Norfolk.”
Clare Bradley, Contract Manager for St Giles, said: “We know from our experiences delivering rehabilitation and resettlement projects across the country that addressing underlying issues saves a lot of work and heartache for all those affected further down the line.
“The OPCCN already fund the WONDER+ project helping women affected by issues around drugs, criminal justice, substance misuse and related issues regain control of their lives and progress towards independence. We very much look forward to working with them to help a wider range of individuals.”
Julia Nix, Service Leader for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in East Anglia, said: “By working collaboratively with the OPCCN, Norfolk County Council Public Health, DWP has allocated Work Coach resource to the ADDER project. However, in recognition of the significant challenges faced by ADDER project participants, DWP has been able to go further by aligning resources locally with project partners to fund the Pathway Out contract which will provide additional mentoring support to facilitate progress into, or steps towards, employment”.
Cllr Bill Borrett, Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “I am very pleased that we have supported the implementation of the Pathway Out project as part of the wider Project ADDER programme in Norwich, which focuses on the reduction of drug-related crimes and deaths. Support and access to training and employment for people with substance misuse who get caught up in the criminal justice system is an important part of the multi-agency approach of this project.
“It is also very positive that, through the additional funding into WONDER+, it has been possible to embed specific women’s diversion and support interventions within Project ADDER. In both these projects, St Giles Trust is working as part of our ADDER delivery team and in partnership with service users to help ensure it is successful in its aims.”
About Pathway Out
Total funding of £95,000 over two financial years is being made available by the Department for Work and Pensions East Anglia and Norfolk Public Health England for the Pathway Out project. An open tender process was run by the OPCCN earlier in the year to find a provider of the support worker role. St Giles Trust was successful in securing that contract which was awarded in May 2021 and is due to end in March 2023.
They are currently recruiting a support worker:
*ADDER stands for Addiction, Disruption, Diversion, Enforcement, Recovery.
Greater Norwich is one of 5 areas in England piloting the Home Office and Public Health England’s new Project ADDER, which will run to March 2023. The funding, provided to Public Health Norfolk and Norfolk Police, is working with local services to combat drug misuse in the Greater Norwich area.
Project ADDER’s national aims are to reduce the rate of drug related deaths, see a reduction in the level of drug related offending and see a reduction in prevalence of drug use, predominately opiates and/or crack cocaine.
In Greater Norwich, Public Health Norfolk and Norfolk Police have coordinated the implementation of law enforcement approaches together with a range of assertive and targeted diversionary, treatment and recovery provision to:
· Increase the number of drug users engaging in treatment and recovery support, and completing treatment
· Increase the number of young and vulnerable people safeguarded
· Reduce reoffending amongst drug users
· Reduce drugs supply
· Reduce the costs for local health services and police forces by lowering the number of drug users in the area.
A multi-agency project group, led by Public Health Norfolk and Norfolk Police, is moving forward with the implementation of the Greater Norwich pilot, more details of which will become available as the project progresses.
**WONDER stands for Women of Norfolk Diversion, Engagement and Rehabilitation.
Originally launched in 2017 as a one-year pilot, WONDER’s link workers provide help and support to women referred to the project through community policing, police custody, multi-agency early help hubs, health services, victim services and other help and support networks for vulnerable women. Women can also self-refer to the project.
You can hear from some of the women supported by WONDER+ on the St Giles Trust Soundcloud - https://soundcloud.com/louiscstgilestrust.
You can read the full WONDER+ project report here.