News

News 7th December 2016 incorporating ICS update

November has seen a busy month for the ICS Regional Forum gatherings. Central, South and North West have all met in last couple of weeks. Attendance has greatly increased in each area as regions met for the 2nd and some cases 3rd time this year, with the Forums evolving as we move along. Attendees are seeing great value from informed presentations given by community safety professionals currently working in the field. Topics have been very current, addressing of some of the challenges we are all currently facing. The presentations have included:

• Child Criminal Exploitation (Knowsley Council)

• Modern Slave Labour and Trafficking (Gtr Manchester Fire and Rescue Service The Challenger Team)

• Cyber Crime (Warwickshire County Council and Slough Borough Council)

• Street Drinking / Street Community Issues (Hastings District Council)

• Offender Management Analysis (Bucks CC)

• Prevent Management and Coordination (Walsall Borough Council)

• Vulnerable Location / County Lines / Gangs (Southend Borough Council)

All the presentations will shortly be available on the ICS website and we hope that these presentations will support mini knowledge hubs under each Regional Forum webpage – a place by which community safety professionals can see what others have done, or are challenged by, and thereby contact respective regional colleagues for advice and guidance etc.

As part of the South West Regional Forum day’s programme on 6th December, in partnership with the South West Group, we launched the South West Cyber Security Cluster. This is very exciting and something of a first in relation to the development of a regional approach to understanding cybercrime and the increasing challenges we are facing. Further details are available from ICS South West Regional Director Rebecca Cheshire -Rebeccacheshire@nhs.net

ICS Regional Directors

Further to the appointment of NW and NE Regional Director and Central Regional Director, we are pleased to confirm the appointment of two new Directors –

Rebecca Cheshire – South West

Garry Tallett – South

These appointments bring the ICS up to full regional coverage across the UK except for the Eastern region but they are currently in conversation with several interested candidates from this region and hope to make an announcement shortly.

Regional Directors will not only be key in relation to managing the Regional Forums, but will also provide; regional contact points for community safety professionals and a reporting line back to the Home Office for regional matters.

This is an exciting but challenging time - particularly as we all experience the changing dynamics of crime and disorder – with many of us now involved / working with our colleagues in safeguarding (hidden harm agenda etc). The Regional Directors will have a pivotal role in this area.

The Regional Director team will be meeting Sarah Newton MP (Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism) along with the Home Office’s Tackling Crime Unit in January, in London, to discuss regional issues and direction of travel.

ICS REGIONAL FORUM CALENDAR:

South Regional Forum: Tuesday 14th February 2017 - 11am to 2pm at Kent Fire and Rescue, Maidstone

Central Regional Forum: Thursday 16th February 2017 - 11am to 3pm at Walsall Council

Eastern Regional Forum: Tuesday 28th February 2017 - 10am to 1 pm at Southend Borough Council

North West Regional Forum: Thursday 2nd March 2017 - 11am to 2pm atHalton Borough Council

Other dates and venues will be notified in due course.

Home Office + MOPAC - Ending Gang Violence and Exploitation (EGVE) programme

County Line / Gang Support Offer from ICS:

The Home Office has asked ICS to support the new Ending Gang Violence and Exploitation (EGVE) programme by directly delivering match funded support (Locality Review) to police forces and community safety partnerships, using ex Home Office gang experts and the Home Office Peer Review Network.

The London Mayor’s Office Policing and Crime (MOPAC) are supporting London Boroughs with a fully funded programme of EGVE support The Locality Review will help you and your force to better understand the problem - this is a new type of organised crime which operates considerably more privately rather than in the public space, it could be described as ‘hidden’. Currently the problem is not fully understood, however evidence suggests that the illegal drugs market is powering the threat.

The threat is real and present; most partnerships currently lack an understanding of their local picture, what is happening in their locality and additionally, how these offenders are actively exploiting vulnerable groups physically, financially, and/or sexually. The ICS can provide you with an intelligence product to help your force and partners explore these issues in more detail, identify effective practice, highlight barriers to local understanding and implement an effective response.

The Locality Review enables rapid assessment of issues around gang activity, CSE, illegal drug markets, safeguarding issues, serious youth violence, radicalisation/extremism, and victimisation through drawing upon the experiences of practitioners, communities, victims and offenders.

Over the course of one day, a team of expert interviewers speak to up to 70 practitioners about their knowledge, insights and perceptions of gangs, violence, and vulnerability.

It tests the prevalence of issues identified through cross-referencing opinions from interviewees/groups and considers relevant quantitative data to help partnerships the identify barriers preventing the effective understanding of local priorities (in relation to threat, risk and harm).

ICS Locality Reviews have been completed in the following areas to date:

• Portsmouth

• Milton Keynes

• Colchester

• Brentwood

• Basildon

• Redbridge

Locality Reviews booked in at:

Plymouth

Walsall

Slough

Chapel Town

London reviews:

Croydon

Lambeth

Barnet

Hammersmith and Fulham

Merton

Richmond

Hounslow

Enfield

Barking and Dagenham

The ICS are keen to work with other localities across the UK – specifically in the NORTH WEST and NORTH EAST and would welcome a discussion with you if you are experiencing these issues

EGVE National Forum membership and benefits

In conjunction with this work the ICS offer all Locality Review recipients membership of the National EGVE Forum, which is coordinated by the Home Office.

Membership of the Forum allows members to access the EGVE Knowledge Hub and gives members attendance to National Forum meetings. As part of the EGVE membership programme, ICS, in partnership with the Home Office, run a monthly telecom operation, by which EGVE members / Locality Review recipients can dial in and share current issues in their locality and / or disseminate how they have / are dealing with a current issue. It is a very beneficial and informative exercise.

EGVE TRAINING and AWARENESS under the EGVE Programme

The ICS also offer a full programme of training and awareness for partnerships, police forces and local authorities around violence and vulnerability.

The training explores the local problems linked to gangs/groups and peers, key themes and signs of gang association and activity. It encompasses the learning from the Ending Gangs and Youth Violence programme and the cross-cutting themes of modern slavery, CSE, serious organised crime, Prevent, mental health and drugs.

Up to 40 participants will receive the following awareness training –

• Gang training, awareness, identification and referral

• Evolving nature of gang related exploitation

• Tackling and identifying county lines

• Protecting vulnerable locations

• Safeguarding gang/group associated women and girls

• Identifying your local safeguarding issues

• Good practice and case studies

• Lessons from the local assessment process

• Social media use to identify and tackle local risk

• Radicalisation and extremism links to local gangs/groups

• Recognising modern slavery

ICS / ESSEX PCC Strategic Countywide Review of Gangs

The ICS are currently working with the OPCC in Essex to deliver an innovative countywide strategic review of gangs and organised crime groups who operate the county line model in Essex. Many localities in Essex suffer from the damage caused by predominately London based gangs and the escalation of violence, vulnerability and exploitation that follows them.

The ICS have arranged a series of themed workshops inviting many Essex based agencies into each. This will enable us to map current challenges, identify gaps and deliver recommendations that tackle the problem using a countywide coordinated approach. The programme includes working with key leads from MOPAC and the Met’s TRIDENT team who recognise the role London plays in exportation of the issue. It is good to have them on board at an early stage in this.

The ICS will continue to feedback progress of this work as we move forward with it. Home Office are equally interested in our approach and outcomes. Since going live with the programme other PCC’s from across the UK have shown interest in working with us on similar approach and we are keen to work with other PCC Offices across the UK.

NEWS 21st October 2016. Forces 'Trouble with Troubled Families"

In the news this week the report into the Troubled Families Initiative

More than £1bn for troubled families 'has had little impact'. A study of flagship social policy suggests small number of positive or negative results in tackling addiction and truancy. The initiative was designed to turn around the lives of 120,000 of the most ‘troubled’ families in England. The government’s flagship social policy, announced after the 2011 riots and intended to correct the anti-social behaviour of “troubled families”, has failed to achieve any significant impact, an official evaluation has found. The troubled families programme, a scheme estimated to cost more than £1bn including £450m from central government, was launched by the former prime minister David Cameron with the aim of tackling “a culture of disruption and irresponsibility” by targeting households with high levels of crime, unemployment, pupil truancy and use of child welfare services.

However, a devastating study concludes that after four years there was no clear evidence that the programme had any serious effect, despite persistent claims by politicians that it had “turned around” the lives of tens of thousands of families and saved over a billion pounds. The study concludes: “The key finding from the impact evaluation using administrative data was that across a wide range of outcomes, covering the key objectives of the programme – employment, benefit receipt, school attendance, safeguarding and child welfare – we were unable to find consistent evidence that the troubled families programme had any significant or systematic impact.”

The study, carried out by an independent research consortium including the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (Niesr), suggested that ministers may have underestimated the scale of the problems faced by the most entrenched families and overestimated the capacity of the scheme to transform the lives of those who participated.

Last year the government massively expanded the programme to 400,000 families by 2020 claiming its “payment by results” approach – in which councils were paid only if they could show they had successfully intervened with families – was a success. However, the decision to expand the scheme – which was widely criticised at the time as being unsupported by evidence – was taken before the formal evaluation was complete. Ministers had seized on data that appeared to show that almost all of the 120,000 families covered by the programme had undergone positive, life-changing experiences as a result of intervention by professionals but the study says that there was no evidence that the changes were attributable to the programme itself. It said it was likely that the programme was poorly targeted, with little evidence that the families chosen reflected the true prevalence of families with multiple and complex needs. It said some councils felt that the scheme ignored the powerful determinants of poverty and disadvantage in the lives of some families. The study said that despite the lack of evidence to support the claims for the programme some good may come out of it in the future. There were “some signs of green shoots” including evidence that families involved in the programme experienced increased levels of “confidence and optimism”.

The Department for Communities and Local Government, which slipped the evaluation report out unannounced to its website on Monday evening, declined to comment on the findings. Instead it referred to a statement published online at the weekend by the under-secretary of state for communities, Lord Bourne, in which he claimed the programme had made “significant improvements” for families. The statement said: “We believe that this programme has transformed the lives of thousands of families. The councils and frontline staff who have put it into practice should be pleased with the work they have done. “And, most of all, the families should be proud of having had the courage and commitment to change their lives for the better. They valued the programme because, for them, it worked.” The statement appears to suggest that the target participants of the programme now also include not just “troubled families” but the “just managing” low-income, working families identified by the prime minister, Theresa May, in July as a group she was determined to help.

Although Bourne says he is “confident that the programme will save money for the taxpayer” a separate evaluation concludes that it was impossible to prove that any reductions in spending on services for targeted families were attributable to the programme or other factors. One of the Niesr report’s authors, Jonathan Portes, told Channel 4’s Dispatches programme: “The only way you can measure whether a programme has had actually any impact is to compare whether the people affected by the programme do better or worse than people who weren’t affected by the programme, and we have that evidence. “The troubled families programme has no significant impact on any of the key outcomes it was designed to change. As far as we can tell, there’s no evidence at all to suggest the programme had more than zero impact on any of the key findings it was designed to change.” The money wasted on ‘troubled families’ was not even the biggest problem with this disastrous policy. This expensive, flawed idea has pathologised a whole group of perfectly ordinary, if distressing, life events.

The troubled families programme was established by the Coalition Government after the 2011 summer riots to support children from struggling homes – but the definition of a ‘troubled’ family was too broad.

Source Patrick Butler Social policy editor The Guardian 17th October

Now we know for sure: the Government’s Troubled Families programme was, and is, a failure. Those involved in executing it, council staff in particular, were well aware that the £400m pilot project working with 120,000 arbitrarily chosen families wasn’t up to much long before today’s damning report was published. Yet, the Government still chose to roll it out to try to work with a further 400,000 families by 2020 at the eye-watering cost of £900m. This, remember, while benefits are being cut and the Treasury was still summarily obsessed with getting the deficit down.

Today the evidence that this project is a dreadful waste of precious money is there in black and white. “We were unable to find consistent evidence that the Troubled Families programme had any significant or systematic impact,” concludes an independent analysis of the policy carried out by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. It was, variously, based on very little evidence that a large number of families with multiple and very complex needs ever existed, poorly targeted, and ignored the real causes of disadvantage to some families.

When it was first devised in the wake of the 2011 summer riots, the Troubled Families initiative was designed to stop a small number of people living chaotic lives placing a huge burden on the public purse – a situation that a handful of ministers had convinced themselves existed despite scant, and anecdotal at best, evidence that it did. It drew up a list of factors that might identify a family as “troubled” if five or more applied to them: no parent in work; poor quality housing; no parent with qualifications; a mother with mental health problems; one parent with longstanding disability or illness; low income; unable to afford food and clothing.

These, as councils pointed out immediately, were often just the symptoms of poverty, not the cause of social instability and family breakdown. More to the point, they found it hard to find families to which more than a couple of these applied. Perhaps there weren’t really many “troubled families” in Britain at all. But cash-strapped by Government cuts, councils couldn’t afford to lose the money the policy provided so, understandably, they ploughed on regardless. They were at least funding some good local work.

In 2014, fully aware of its shortcomings, the scheme was rolled out by the Government to run until 2020, at which point the definition of a troubled family was broadened, relaxed perhaps, to include a whole new range of criteria. Some of these were welcome: known domestic violence, for example, or a high risk of children being taken into care. Fine. But then definition of a “troubled” household became baggier and baggier.

It could now include the simple fact of being in debt, or anyone in a family having a physical and mental health condition. According to a statement released on the day the expansion was confirmed by former Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, of “troubled family” members “71 per cent having a physical health problem and 46 per cent a mental health concern”. This is dangerous territory.

The damage that has been inflicted by the Troubled Families programme is far greater than the quite staggering waste of money that it represents. What it has done is pathologised a whole group of perfectly ordinary, if distressing, life events. If you are unlucky enough to be diagnosed with, say multiple sclerosis, does that put you on the watch list? What happens if an out-of-work father succumbs to depression at the same time as a teenage child experiments with soft drugs around the same time? Is that family really “troubled”, or just coping with the complicated business of being alive?

More significantly, it has done this at a time when ever more families are likely to be facing issues such as debt, unemployment, low income and benefit dependency (four factors which often come as a package, pushing families into the “troubled” very easily indeed) due to years of austerity and now the fluctuations of the British economy in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Being “troubled” has taken on a new meaning; something like, “not a member of the upwardly-mobile, aspirational middle class”. It’s a grotesque expression of classism smuggled in through a policy that looks well-meaning at best, benign at worse. But it is not.

The harm that it has done is long-lasting. It’s not just that it forces the agencies (social workers, teachers, council staff) who work with poorer families to constantly assess them against this ugly word “troubled” – it means families facing quite normal difficulties will start to think of their own prospects in such terms too. The psychological impact could cost far more to the public purse than the original flawed policy could ever seek to save in the first place.

The Troubled Families programme is yet another triumph of anecdote and assumption over the facts. The best way to save any families at risk of falling into poverty traps and a chaotic lifestyle is to put an end to this expensive blunder.

Source Hannah Fearn - The Independent Tuesday 18 October 20166

Comments

 Expensive? Really? We seem to have "wasted" as much as we pay to the EU in 30 hours. What's the alternative? Do nothing for fear of failure or criticism?

 The implementation at the front line by local councils is where it went wrong. It is harsh blaming Cameron for that: his heart was actually in the right place.

 This scheme was patronising claptrap from a party that delighted in making poor people's lives more difficult. There are plenty of middle class, affluent, professional troubled families, including those of cabinet members.

 What an idiotic article. An immense amount of imagination went into creating this distorted picture of reality. It provides no enlightenment regarding the really important issue, namely why this program did not bring any measurable benefits. Is it because it was not well enough designed, the wrong help offered, or is it because those it tried to help are beyond help? Hopefully someone else will throw some light on this.

 The message I gleaned from the article was that the families were incorrectly diagnosed and then offered the wrong treatment. They were provided with a social worker whereas what they really needed was more support - that is, money.

 It didn't work because it was badly designed, badly targeted, and the government failed to take advice from those on the ground who had the task of trying to help families in debt and crisis. Add the fantastic amount of money wasted on this programme to the sums thrown away by Andrew Lansley on NHS "reform" and you will see the undeserved reputation the Tories have for economic competence fluttering in the breeze in tatters. It was Cameron's version of Blair's "eye-catching initiatives", and as flimsily based on principle or evidence.

 It didn't work because delegating government policy to the lowest common denominator social worker (who probably has a personal agenda to subvert the policy) was always going to end in tears.

Five years ago, not long after the 2011 riots, David Cameron – in a speech aimed directly at tabloid headlines – blamed 120,000 “families from hell”. And in 2012, the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) launched the “troubled families” programme, with a budget of £448m. It claimed that these 120,000 families cost the taxpayer £9bn a year. But the programme’s evaluation, published today (17th October 2016), is the perfect case study of how the manipulation of statistics by politicians and civil servants led directly to bad policy and to the wasting of hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.

You can find the evaluation report, produced by a consortium led by research company Ecorys and including the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) here, but for those who do not have time to trawl through all the findings the bottom line is quite simple.

As far as we can tell from extensive and voluminous analysis of tens of thousands of individual records, using data from local authorities, the Department for Work and Pensions, HMRC, the Department for Education and the Police National Computer, the troubled families programme had no discernible impact on the key outcomes it was supposed to improve at all. It didn’t make people any more (or less) likely to come off benefits, to get jobs, to commit fewer crimes and so on.

What matters here is not that the programme didn’t achieve what it set out to do. Successful policymaking requires experimentation and risk-taking – and by definition, sometimes that results in failure. But it was government’s deliberate misrepresentation of the data and statistics that led to badly formulated targets, which in turn translated into a funding model that could have been designed to waste money. Bad stats meant bad policy. It’s not as if they weren’t warned, time and again, by me and other researchers. As far back as February 2012, I explained the fundamental flaw in the analysis: that the government was taking a set of families who were undeniably poor and disadvantaged, and redefining them – without a shred of evidence – as dysfunctional and antisocial.

This flawed assumption made its way into the prime minister’s speech. And then this obviously flawed analysis was used to allocate local targets and funding. In March 2015 ministers decided to pre-empt the result of the evaluation, claiming in a DCLG report: “More than 105,000 troubled families were turned around saving taxpayers an estimated £1.2bn.” This was untrue. We – including the responsible civil servants – had in fact absolutely no idea whether the programme had saved taxpayers anything at all; and if it had, how much. As I wrote at the time, “the £1.2bn is pure, unadulterated fiction”. But it was worse than that. Anyone who read this report in detail would have realised that the targeting and funding model was resulting in huge misallocations of money. Each of the councils involved were somewhat miraculously turning around the exact number of “troubled families’ they had been asked to target – 2,385 in Manchester, more than 2,000 in Leeds and so on.

In other words this was not – as the government had claimed – a “payments by results” programme. It was make up the results as you go along and cash the cheques. Numbers that had absolutely no basis in any objective reality had first become the basis for targets, then for claimed “success”, and then for money. Given this sorry history, the results of the evaluation should hardly come as a surprise.

So who’s to blame? The senior civil servant who directed the troubled families programme, Louise Casey, must be averse to “evidence-based” policy. Why else would her instincts have been to press ahead, and to ignore both the evidence and the warnings from me and from others? And while most of the blame rightly rests at the top with ministers, including the former prime minister, and the responsible senior civil servants at the communities department – and they should be held accountable – it is also important to note that the normal checks and balances that should have picked up on all this simply failed. What on earth did the Treasury spending team think it was doing? Where was the National Audit Office? As far as I can tell, it produced one frankly mediocre report that fudged or buried the key points – which were all in the public domain.

Belatedly the public accounts committee, one of the two key parliamentary committees on this issue together with the DCLG – has awakened from its stupor and announced an inquiry into the programme. But we don’t need to wait for their report to learn a few basic lessons. The most obvious one is that statistics and facts do actually matter, whatever Casey might say. They translate directly into policy, and hence into real outcomes for real people. But to avoid distortions by politicians along the way, the production of statistics and the analysis of evidence need to be genuinely independent.

Souce: Jonathan Portes ‘The Guardian’ 17th September 2016

The government’s £1.3bn troubled families programme was always a dubious enterprise. Launched after the 2011 riots, the scheme aimed to “turn around” the lives of nearly 120,000 families. The first wave paid all 152 local authorities in England to identify and then turn around families deemed “troubled”, at a cost of about £400m. Councils received up to £4,000 per family if an adult got a job, children were truanting less or if antisocial behaviour and youth crime were reduced. The programme is being rolled out to a further 400,000 families with a wider range of problems by the end of 2020, at a further cost of £900m.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with experimenting with different ways to intervene early and help families. But this programme was built on several flawed premises. Many of the families that the government identified as “troubled” were merely multiply deprived households. Eligible families were chosen if they met five out of seven measures of disadvantage, including one or both parents out of work, living in poor quality housing and having a parent with a mental health problem.

Then there were the ludicrous claims of the scheme’s success. David Cameron said last year that the first wave of the troubled families programme had been a “real government success” which had saved taxpayers £1.2bn by turning around 99% of the families worked with. A near 100% success rate? During a period of swingeing cuts to public services? In fact, my investigation into the first wave of the scheme last year found that more than 8,000 families in more than 40 local authorities were deemed to have been “turned around” solely through data-matching exercises. Data on employment, youth crime and truancy, say, could be used to identify eligible families and find out which, with no input from the troubled families programme, met the criteria for being turned around due to the children going to school more often or a parent finding a job. Only 79,000 families had a “family intervention”, a key plank of the scheme. Others have found few of the government’s claims of success stand up to any form of scrutiny.

So the revelation on BBC Newsnight on Monday that the official evaluation of the trouble families programme (still yet to be published) found “no discernible impact” on employment, school attendance or offending is no surprise. This programme was bound to maximise waste. Some councils have undoubtedly done good things and the scheme provided a vital cash injection into town hall coffers reeling from swingeing budget cuts, but the troubled families programme is a salutary lesson in the failings of payment by results. Much of the blame for this surely lies with Louise Casey, who, as director general of the troubled families unit until last summer, was responsible for the programme and claims of its success.

You cannot design a programme that pays local authorities for turning around families’ lives and allow them to self-certify that they have met the criteria. Cash-strapped councils understandably had an incentive to identify the exact number of “troubled” families the government told them they had on their patch and work out ways to claim that they had been turned around. Some local authorities will have done good work, but even where families received intensive help, it is impossible to know that they would not have turned themselves around anyway.

It is time to call time on awarding public contracts which pay out for results, especially when the evidence for those results is so easy to manipulate .

Source: Anna Bawden 9th August 2016

NEWS 23rd February 2016. Forces 'Sleepwalking away from the communities they serve"

In the news this week the report from the HMIC predicting that the stark reduction in front line police officers could result from forces ‘Sleepwalking’ away from the communities they serve the police watchdog the HMIC has warned. The report reveals that neighbourhood officers were spending as little as half their time on the beat and were increasingly "tucked away" from the public. Zoe Billingham HM Inspector, warned that their role was a cornerstone of British policing. She said "There is a risk that the police service could sleep walk into that old model of policing where police are isolated from the community they serve [neighbourhood officers[] are the vital eyes and ears for the police force. An inspection of all 43 forces in England & Wales revealed that neighbourhood officers were increasingly being diverted to tasks such as guarding crime scenes, processing prisoners and staffing front counters. The report also revealed that in some cases police community support officers (PCSO's) were investigating low-level crimes such as shoplifting or carrying out investigative tasks such as collecting CCTV evidence. More than a third of forces required improvement and only one, Durham Constabulary, was outstanding.

NEWS 10th February 2016. Failures in Community Protection, Domestic Violence and Sexual Exploitation; three shocking reports

Police Failures in Dealing with Anti-Social Behaviour

A police officer and a community support officer have been jailed for misconduct following the vigilante murder of a disabled refugee. Pc Kevin Duffy, 52, and PCSO Andrew Passmore, 56, were convicted of the charge in connection with the death of Bijan Ebrahimi in Bristol in 2013. Mr Ebrahimi, 44, was punched and kicked to death and his body set on fire by neighbour Lee James, who wrongly believed he was a paedophile. Duffy failed to respond to numerous pleas for help by Mr Ebrahimi two days before the murder, as he viewed him as a nuisance and a liar. Former soldier Passmore lied to murder detectives by claiming he patrolled outside Mr Ebrahimi's home for an hour, when it was actually two minutes. Both have been dismissed from Avon and Somerset Police since their convictions and subsequent misconduct hearings. Judge Neil Ford QC, the Recorder of Bristol, said there had been "wider failings" by the force before Mr Ebrahimi's death. The judge, who jailed Duffy for 10 months and Passmore for four, said they had "betrayed" the public's trust. "It is with a heavy heart that in each of your cases I take the view that only a custodial sentence is appropriate," Judge Ford said."You have already lost your careers and in each of your cases there is genuine justification for mercy. "You must not bear the responsibilities for the wider failings in the police which were beyond your control." Mr Ebrahimi had a history of disputes with his neighbours in Capgrave Crescent in Brislington. On July 11 2013, he filmed James drinking beer while playing with his young daughters on a communal green. James wrongly believed that Mr Ebrahimi had been filming his children for sexual gratification and burst into his flat. Mr Ebrahimi dialled 999 and two police officers, Pc Leanne Winter and Pc Helen Harris, arrived to find James crying with anger and frothing at the mouth. Pcs Winter and Harris arrested Mr Ebrahimi for breaching the peace and led him out in handcuffs in front of a crowd, who jeered and taunted him. Mr Ebrahimi was released from custody the following day and made 12 calls to the police non-emergency number 101. "There was a developing theme of Mr Ebrahimi saying that he didn't feel safe and that a crowd was outside," the judge said. Pc Henrietta Staveley-Brown emailed Duffy, the neighbourhood's beat manager, warning of "vigilante issues" after visiting the estate that day. The officer also raised concerns to a sergeant and inspector but no patrols were arranged in what Judge Ford described as a "serious failing". Mr Ebrahimi was informed that Duffy would visit, but the officer refused to see him. "My life is in danger. Right now a few of my neighbours are outside and shouting and calling me a paedophile. I need to see Pc Duffy," Mr Ebrahimi told one operator. Duffy told a supervisor: "It's Mr Bijan Ebrahimi. He's well known to me and I won't be taking any calls from him." The judge said Duffy's omission to visit or speak to Mr Ebrahimi, whom he regarded as a "nuisance", was a serious failing. But he added there was "much doubt" that Duffy could have prevented the murder. Passmore drove to the estate after being asked to conduct a "bit of a foot patrol" by Duffy that evening, July 12, and spent two minutes outside. Judge Ford said Passmore had "no need" to lie to murder detectives and claim that he had patrolled for an hour, but he deliberately did so. The following day, July 13, Mr Ebrahimi attempted to contact Duffy and Pc Winter. He phoned police at 00.14am on July 14, about an hour before his murder. Witnesses saw James repeatedly stamp on Mr Ebrahimi's head before setting him alight at 1.35am with neighbour Stephen Norley. James was jailed for life for the murder, while Norley was sentenced to four years in prison for assisting an offender. Pcs Winter, 38, and Harris, 40, were acquitted of misconduct following the seven-week trial at Bristol Crown Court last year. Avon and Somerset Police are now beginning misconduct hearings with 15 members of staff and officers. "As a consequence, we're unable to comment any further to avoid any prejudice to the disciplinary matters," a force spokesman said. IPCC commissioner Jan Williams said the police watchdog would published its investigation findings into Mr Ebrahimi's death at the conclusion of all disciplinary proceedings. Speaking outside court, Mr Ebrahimi's sister Manisha Moores said: "We hope the judge's words today send out a strong message to police officers across the country about the importance of protecting victims and the importance of telling the truth. "We hope that today's outcome will help other victims and our search for justice continues." Avon and Somerset Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Morgan said: "Today it is important we should remember Bijan Ebrahimi and his family who are at the heart of these proceedings, and the lengthy and painful legal processes they have had to endure alongside their tragic loss. They have done this throughout with the greatest dignity and composure. I reiterate my heartfelt apology and condolences to the family today. "In summing up in court today, His Honour Judge Ford recognised the appropriateness of custodial sentences for Kevin Duffy and Andrew Passmore. The principle job of the police service is to protect the public and in this case Bijan Ebrahimi was failed. "The judge also made reference to the responsibility of the wider organisation today. Our focus has been and will continue to be to understand the circumstances around Mr Ebrahimi's treatment by our police officers and staff in the days leading up to his murder, and do all that we can to prevent such a dreadful event happening to anyone again. "We are at the beginning of a series of misconduct hearings and meetings involving 15 members of staff and officers. It's crucial that these disciplinary proceedings are allowed to progress to their final conclusion without prejudice now that sentencing has taken place. As a consequence we're unable to comment any further to avoid any prejudice to the disciplinary matters. "The gross misconduct hearings involving police officers will be held in public at Police HQ and further details will be published nearer the time." PC Kevin Duffy, 52, should have known Bijan Ebrahimi was in danger in July 2013 but refused to speak to or visit him, Avon and Somerset Police said. He and PCSO Andrew Passmore, 56, were convicted of misconduct in public office last month. Both have been dismissed this week, Avon and Somerset Police said. Iranian-born Mr Ebrahimi, who was registered disabled, was wrongly suspected of being a paedophile by his neighbour Lee James. He had called police to report being assaulted by James, days before he was attacked and killed outside his flat in Capgrave Crescent, Brislington. Bijan Ebrahimi was brutally murdered outside his flat in Brislington in July 2013. Bristol Crown Court heard last month Mr Ebrahimi had called the non-emergency 101 number 12 times, trying to get police to investigate the assault. The court heard he told one operator: "My life is in danger. Right now a few of my neighbours are outside and shouting and calling me a paedophile. I need to see PC Duffy." But the trial learned that Duffy regarded Mr Ebrahimi as a "liar and a nuisance" and never went to see him, instead requesting Passmore conduct "a bit of a foot patrol" in the vicinity. Passmore was convicted of misconduct in a public office for falsely claiming to have spent an hour patrolling the area. James went on to kill Mr Ebrahimi and set fire to his body. He is serving a life sentence for murder. In separate misconduct hearings held on Friday, Avon and Somerset Police said Duffy was found guilty of gross misconduct and dismissed without notice. Passmore was dismissed at a hearing last year.

Stevenage police officer who targeted domestic abuse victims for sex is jailed. Courtesy: Hertfordshire Mercury January 2016

A disgraced policeman from Stevenage who abused his position to have sex with vulnerable women has been jailed for three years. Simon Salway saw every encounter with a young women as an "opportunity for sex." He fathered a child by one woman he met when he visited her home to take a witness statement from her. Salway had sex with others who had contacted the police for help, exchanging hundreds of flirtatious text messages and even sending one woman intimate pictures of his genitals. At Luton Crown Court yesterday the 39-year-old was jailed for three years by a judge who told him "You have let down the entire police force and its reputation." Judge Richard Foster, the honorary recorder of Luton, told Salway "Police officers are in a special position of trust when dealing with such people and the public expect them to act with absolute integrity. "Your conduct fell woefully short of those expectations. "Over a period of some seven years, you used females with whom you came into contact in such circumstances as an opportunity to pursue a sexual relationship." The officer was appearing for sentence having been found guilty at Luton Crown Court of six charges of misconduct in a public office concerning his dealings with five different women. He was acquitted of a seventh misconduct charge involving another woman. He had pleaded not guilty to all the offences. Salway joined the force in 2003, and was based at Hatfield Police Station and is due to be dismissed from the force. During his trial in December a jury heard that the officer had gone on a training course to deal with the victims of domestic violence. As a result, Salway would be sent to the homes of female victims of domestic abuse to talk to them and take witness statements from them. He should have been there to provide help, reassurance and assistance for the women, but Salway - a married man - instead targeted them for sex. Prosecutor Gregory Perrins told the court "He was opportunistic and saw every encounter with a young vulnerable woman as an opportunity for sex." The court heard some of the women were particularly vulnerable, being the victims of domestic violence at the hands of abusive partners. PC Salway would follow a pattern of first winning their trust and then flirting with them before sending them sexual texts and messages. The prosecutor said the officer had "wilfully abused" his position as a policeman over a sustained period of time as he came into contact with women who were the victims of crime or witnesses. During the trial, the court heard he had had a full sexual relationship with two women, including one who gave birth to his child, and he had actively pursued three more, hoping to have sex with them. The court was told how, in 2006, a woman who was being threatened by a man that he would burn her house down contacted Hertfordshire Police and Salway was sent to see her and take a statement. Soon afterwards he began texting her. He kissed her during one meeting and arranged on another occasion to meet her in a layby while he was on duty and in full uniform, where more kissing took place. The jury then heard how, in July of 2007, a woman witnessed the robbery of a taxi driver outside her flat and, after calling the police, made a witness statement. When she started receiving threats to withdraw her evidence, she contacted the police once more and Salway was sent to speak to her. Even on that occasion, the jury was told that the officer was "chatting flirtatiously" with her and telling her she looked nice. It was not long before the officer and the woman began a relationship together. The court was told on the first occasion the officer visited her at her home to have sex, he got called away when a job came in over his police radio to attend a cannabis factory. Afterwards, he returned to the woman's flat, where they had sex in her living room, the court was told. Judge Foster was told it became a regular pattern for the officer to go to the woman's flat for sex. At that stage she thought he was single but, in September 2007, she discovered he was married and ended the relationship. A week later the court was told she discovered she was pregnant by the officer and gave birth to their child in May of 2008. Mr Perrins then told the jury how in 2011 a woman contacted police after finding her ex-partner had taken property from her home. It was PC Salway who was tasked with visiting her and, as he left two hours later, he kissed her on the lips, said the prosecutor. The jury was told the woman eventually had to make it plain that she was not interested in a sexual relationship with him. In October of 2013 another woman contacted the police after receiving threats from an ex-partner and PC Salway was sent to her home, where he took a statement from her. The jury was told when the woman's partner ended up being cautioned, she was upset that he had been let off lightly and became upset during a meeting with the officer. The prosecutor told the jury "When she got upset she let him hug her. When the hug finished she said he looked at her breasts and told her 'You've got quite a bust there, they are quite big aren't they?" Salway then got the woman to perform a sex act on him and afterwards he went back to work. The prosecutor said on one occasion when the woman went outside her flat to smoke, PC Salway who was on duty, joined her in an alleyway, removed her clothes and instigated sex between them. The court was told 825 text messages had passed between them and photos had also been sent. That same year the officer is said to have met another woman after she contacted the police because of problems with an-ex partner. Once again, said Mr Perrins, the officer was sent to speak to her and came across as "flirtatious." Soon he was texting her and the court heard at first the woman appreciated the attention, but then noticed they were becoming inappropriate. The court was told that between August and December of 2013 nearly 1500 text messages - many of which were sexual - had passed between them while he was on duty. Messages he sent the woman included requests for provocative videos and photos of herself. Finally, the court was told, the defendant made contact with two more women that same year, both of whom quickly realised he was overstepping the line. Mr Perrins said the officer was arrested in March of 2014 and, in his locker at the police station, officers found three mobile phones that contained contact details for the women. In an interview, he agreed he had fathered a child by one of the women, but said his contact with other women who were victims of domestic violence had remained professional. He said one of the women had sent him a "sexual picture" of herself that he hadn't wanted and, as a result, he ended all contact with her. In the witness box Salway accepted making a woman domestic violence victim pregnant in 2007, two weeks after taking a statement from her. But he denied having regular sex with her. He said they had sex on just the one occasion, which led to her becoming pregnant. Prosecutor Mr Perrins said in a cross examination "She was a victim and a witness to crime. How do you explain that is not misconduct?" Salway replied: "I had no further involvement with the case. I did not look on her as a witness." He agreed he had sent her a photograph of his erect penis, but said he had not taken the photo while on duty. Salway said that a text message from the woman referring to "our hot bodies rubbing together" was a "fantasy." Mr Perrins said "This is not a fantasy, this is two people having regular sex." The officer was arrested in early 2014 and it followed an investigation during which women who he had dealt with during the years were re-visited and asked about his behaviour. One woman victim told investigators she wouldn't have reported the matter had she not been approached, telling them "At the time, I thought I wanted it. Everyone has a dream of wanting to be with a policeman in uniform." Passing sentence, the judge said "The real victims in this case are not just the females concerned - indeed in every case the conduct alleged was consensual - but rather the public at large. On the jury's finding, your conduct was harmful to the public interest. You have let down the entire police force and its reputation. "In particular, domestic violence is one of the greatest unreported crimes and misconduct such as that in this case, can hardly encourage victims to come forward to the police."

A police officer has been jailed for life for beating his wife to death using a can of paint, a battery and a mallet.

PC Adrian Goldsmith, 50, known as "Otis", murdered 49-year-old Jill Goldsmith at their home in Northampton last March. He was told he must serve a minimum term of 15 years. A jury dismissed his claim that he acted in self-defence after he admitted in court that he stabbed himself. Goldsmith wiped his eyes as he was sentenced at Stafford Crown Court. Read more on this story and others from Northamptonshire. His wife, who was found dead in the foetal position in a pool of blood in their porch, had more than 70 injuries, the court heard. Judge Paul Glenn said she would have suffered before she died in the "spontaneous" attack. "She must have been in terror as she fought for her life," he said. Goldsmith had "lied repeatedly" to the police, doctors and the prison chaplain, the Judge added. "You had caused injuries to yourself to enable the defence you ran at your trial to get off the ground," he said. Jill Goldsmith suffered more than 70 injuries at the hands of her husband, including defensive wounds. Goldsmith, who served with Northamptonshire Police for 28 years, had told officers that his wife attacked him before hitting herself on the back of the head with a mallet. He disapproved of her smoking cannabis and was frustrated by her [lack of] sex drive as she went through the menopause, the three week trial heard. The couple lived next to Northamptonshire Police's HQ in Wootton Hall Park, where computer logs showed that at 12:40 GMT on 26 March Mrs Goldsmith was looking at houses online. Half an hour later, her husband called 999 to say she had tried to kill him. He was arrested at their home, where his colleagues found him holding a kitchen knife and broken glass. Goldsmith had typed up notes saying he was "ready to explode" and had "scared Jill", who had called him a "Jekyll and Hyde" character. Goldsmith and his dead wife were both found at the couple's home by his colleagues in Northamptonshire Police. John Lloyd-Jones QC, prosecuting, said he was a "commended, hard-working officer and murderer all wrapped up in one". A victim impact statement by Mrs Goldsmith's son, Charlie Bailey, was read to the court before the sentence was handed down. Mr Bailey said: "He has left me feeling that there is a massive part of me missing. He should have known above everyone how to calm things down."

NEWS January 2016. Well it's the end of January 2016 and we hope that you are all settling into the year. We are offering our Level 2 Case Workers' course in London at a specially discounted price of £100/day for the 2 days on 29th February & 1st March, dates for the rest of the year for our level 3 & 5 courses are also published, but don't forget that we also offer substantial discounts on 'In House' training. Also our qualifications can facilitate membership of the Institute of Community Safety (ICS).

Let's all hope that the following disturbing stories are not repeated this year. Vulnerable Victims are being failed a report finds whilst a police constable & PCSO are convicted at court for failing a vulnerable victim, read the full report…

Three quarters of police forces in England & Wales are letting down vulnerable victims of crime, including the elderly and disabled the HMIC (Her Majesties Inspectorate of Constabulary) warned in December. In a report four forces were rated as ‘inadequate’ in the way that they protect the vulnerable. Only 12 of the total 43 forces were rated as ‘good’ with the other 27 judged to be ‘requiring improvement’. None was given the top ranking of ‘outstanding’. The HMIC said that even small failures can have ‘tragic consequences’. Zoe Billingham, an HMIC inspector, said: "It is these people the police need to move their resources to because they are at highest risk of harm. We know that small failings can have tragic consequences." The inspectors highlighted concerns about special police units, which are designed to protect vulnerable people, being overstretched. They found teams are understaffed due to large numbers of vacant posts, maternity leave or long-term sickness absence. Expert officers are also being diverted onto other duties and some forces rely on "on call" personnel at weekends or overnight. The findings came as a linked inquiry revealed that units dedicated to domestic abuse are on the verge of being overwhelmed. The HMIC reported a "staggering" 31 per cent surge in reported cases in the 12 months to March, compared with 18 months earlier, mainly because forces are treating reports of abuse in the home more seriously. Inspectors examined how forces respond to and safeguard those who are vulnerable in some way, with a focus on missing and absent children, victims of domestic abuse and how well prepared they are to tackle child sexual exploitation. The two linked reports found:

• There is a lack of high quality data across the police service in relation to vulnerable people, with eight forces not collecting information at all.

• Officers are reluctant to use a new power to combat domestic violence prevention orders, introduced last year, because of the “bureaucracy” and time involved in obtaining the civil restriction.

• Risk assessments are not conducted in some cases because staff are given "discretion" over whether they should be completed.

• Processes to identify children at risk in households where domestic abuse takes place are not reliable or effective.

• Victims are not being provided with updates on cases.

• Variations in how forces define and collect data on missing and absent children mean some do not have a good understanding of the nature and scale of the problem in their area.

• Implementation of measures to tackle child sex abuse is "patchy". Inspectors collected data, reviewed case files, observed meetings and heard from domestic abuse victims before grading forces on their effectiveness at protecting vulnerable people.

Mark Castle, chief executive of charity Victim Support, said: "This report makes disturbing reading, highlighting widespread failure by the police to identify, assess or support the most vulnerable victims of crime, in particular children." Bedfordshire, Essex, Staffordshire and Surrey constabularies were judged to be "inadequate" - meaning there were "serious weaknesses" in their arrangements to safeguard and investigate cases involving vulnerable people. Inspectors expressed “serious concern” after visiting Essex police’s control room and discovering a backlog of 246 domestic violence incidents in which police had not attended or contacted the victim, the report said. The main report added: "The number of forces judged to be inadequate or to require improvement is high. "We would stress that ... many forces provide a good service to some vulnerable victims, some of the time; but there are important areas in which the police response needs to improve, and in which small failures may have tragic consequences." An NSPCC spokesman said it was "simply not good enough" that police are "failing to properly investigate child sexual abuse and exploitation". Academic research shows violent crime may be 60 per cent higher than previously thought because Government figures say victims can only suffer a maximum of five incidents. As a result more than a million violent crimes a year are being edited out of the Government’s official crime figures, new research has shown, meaning true levels in England and Wales are 60 per cent higher than previously thought. Academics said the Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW) had “underestimated” violence because the number of times each person can be counted as a victim of crime is capped at five. It means that the full scale of violence against victims who are repeatedly targeted – especially by relatives or acquaintances – is not fully reflected in published data. Prof Sylvia Walby, of Lancaster University, raised the accuracy concerns at an event staged by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in central London to gather ideas on how to improve the crime survey. She said: “The recent research we did found it underestimated the amount of violent crime by 60 per cent. Uncap it and you have a completely different image of violent crime.” Prof Walby research took the 2011/12 CSEW and calculated that the “capped” number of violent and sexual offences at 1,966,000 would increase to 3,171,000 if the cap was removed, a rise of just over 61 per cent. “It did not increase it so much when the perpetrator was a stranger but it did increase when the perpetrator was a domestic relation or an acquaintance,” said the professor. “This uncapping is crucial in order to understand the nature of violent crime today.” According to the research violent crimes against women rose by 70 per cent if the cap was lifted compared with 50 per cent for men, indicating females were more likely to suffer long-running campaigns of violence. John Flatley, the ONS head of crime statistics, said: “If repeat offences were not capped, there is a risk that a small number of cases involving multiple attacks on the same person could end up skewing results, making it very difficult to spot trends in crimes.” The ONS conference also heard police forces are with-holding vital information about child sex abuse incidents. Lisa Harker, of the NSPCC, said forces gathered a number of details about each incident including the age of the victim and their relationship – if any – with the perpetrator. But the charity is forced to use freedom of information laws to obtain these details because they are not routinely included in publicly-available crime data. “Without this data we are simply left to guess as to what is really happening,” she said. Adrian Leppard, the commissioner of the City of London Police, said he thought recorded crime figures had very limited value because they only scratched the surface of a force’s real workload. “The notion of police recorded crime is history. It’s dead in the water,” he said.

On 21st December a Police Constable and a PCSO were convicted over failure to protect disabled man from vigilante attack, a court decided that they wer swayed by personal dislike of Bijan Ebrahimi, who was beaten to death despite making 12 increasingly desperate calls to police They have been convicted of misconduct after they ignored pleas from a disabled man, who was later murdered, because they had a personal dislike of him. In a rare criminal prosecution of a police officer for neglecting his duty, Pc Kevin Duffy was found guilty of misconduct in public office. A civilian PCSO, Andrew Passmore, was convicted of the same charge after falsely claiming to have spent an hour patrolling the area around the home of Bijan Ebrahimi, who was later beaten to death by a neighbour. The Crown Prosecution Service said Duffy treated the vulnerable man as a “liar and a nuisance”, ignoring his calls and failing in his duty to stop a “callous” vigilante murder. Pcs Leanne Winter, 38, and Helen Harris, 40, were each cleared of a misconduct charge following a seven-week trial at Bristol Crown Court. “Kevin Duffy ignored repeated requests for help from Bijan Ebrahimi who was in fear of his life." The trial heard Duffy, 52 and Passmore, 56, were influenced by their dislike of Mr Ebrahimi, a 44-year-old Iranian national who was beaten to death by neighbour Lee James in Bristol in 2013. The court heard that on July 11 that year, Mr Ebrahimi dialled 999 and reported James had come into his flat and head-butted him. James believed Mr Ebrahimi had filmed his children for sexual gratification – when in fact he was recording anti-social behaviour to report to Bristol City Council. When Winter and Harris arrived, James was crying with anger and frothing at the mouth. Despite having just been assaulted, Mr Ebrahimi was arrested for an alleged breach of the peace. A mob had formed outside and James was heard shouting: "Paedo. I'm going to ******* kill you." While in custody, Harris told Mr Ebrahimi: "I'm a police officer and you're a pain in the ass. Don't speak to me." Mr Ebrahimi was released from custody the following day, July 12, and made 12 calls to the police non-emergency number. Mr Ebrahimi told a police operator: "My life is in danger. “Right now a few of my neighbours are outside and shouting and calling me a paedophile. I need to see Pc Duffy.” Sue Mountstevens, Avon and Somerset police and crime commissioner said: "It is clear that on this occasion the constabulary failed local people and let down a vulnerable man in his own home. This should never have happened.” Mr Ebrahimi was told Duffy, his local beat manager, would visit him but Duffy refused to do so. The officer instead asked Passmore to conduct a "bit of a foot patrol" around Mr Ebrahimi’s home. On July 13, Mr Ebrahimi made further calls for help and, just after midnight on July 14, he telephoned asking for Winter. The officer told a call operator: "I'm absolutely not interested in speaking to him ever." Less than an hour later James repeatedly stamped on Mr Ebrahimi's head, telling him: "Have some of that". Stephen Norley, a neighbour, helped James drag Mr Ebrahimi's body from the scene of the attack and obtained white spirit to burn it. CCTV footage captured a blaze starting at 1.35am. James was jailed for life for the murder, while Norley, was handed four years for assisting an offender. Colin Gibbs, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Kevin Duffy ignored repeated requests for help from Bijan Ebrahimi who was in fear of his life. “He clearly didn’t like Bijan Ebrahimi and treated him as a liar and a nuisance. “He refused to speak to him, including repeatedly ignoring his phone calls for help when he felt unsafe in his own home.” Mr Gibbs added that Duffy had “failed in his basic public duty” to prevent a “callous” vigilante attack. Internal misconduct hearings are now pending against 18 officers and staff. Sue Mountstevens, the Avon and Somerset police and crime commissioner, said: "It is clear that on this occasion the constabulary failed local people and let down a vulnerable man in his own home. This should never have happened.” Passmore was acquitted of another charge of misconduct in a public office by failing to carry out any or an adequate patrol around Mr Ebrahimi's home. Duffy and Passmore were released on unconditional bail to be sentenced next year. In a similar case in 2012 a Metropolitan police detective, Ryan Coleman-Farrow, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of misconduct in public office over his failure to investigate alleged rapes and sexual assaults of 12 women.

NEWS 14th December 2015 Every police force still needs to make spending cuts every year for the next four years, the home secretary, Theresa May, is to tell police chiefs. She is to warn police forces on Tuesday that the chancellor’s unexpected decision last month to protect overall spending on the police does not amount to a reprieve from making further savings or “let them off the hook” of introducing further major reforms. “We must redouble our efforts, force a more urgent pace, and deliver a more radical and more sustained period of police reform than we saw even in the last parliament,” May is to tell a police reform summit. “Because with protected funding comes an even greater responsibility to spend every penny of taxpayers’ money wisely, and to drive better value at every step.” Theresa May warns police: cuts mean 'fewer people, fewer buildings' Read more The past five years have seen spending cuts of more than 18% with the loss of more than 17,000 police officers and a programme of changes including the introduction of police and crime commissioners. Immediately aft