Headlines: March 31st, 2004

The 5000 offenders who commit about 10% of crimes in the UK are to be targeted in a new cross-Government initiative. The cost to communities is hard to calculate because the offences involve the pensioner scared to leave home after dark and the mother unable to take her children to the playground because it has become the haunt of the local gang.Each of the 376 crime and disorder reduction partnerships are being asked to target the top 15-20 prolific offenders that are causing most harm to communities. The exact criteria used to select individuals to be targeted will be drawn up in consultation with the 42 Local Criminal Justice Boards, which are made up of local chief officers of all the criminal justice agencies. At present, a persistent offender is defined as someone who has been convicted of six or more offences in the last year. The new strategy will take more account of the particular concerns of individual communities and look at the nature and volume of crime which offenders are committing; other harm they are causing and the impact their behaviour is having on their local community.

The strategy will focus on individual offenders and managing them through the system. It will include prevention and deterrence, using intelligence to catch and convict offenders as well as rehabilitation and resettlement.