Explore ways to reduce reoffending through mentoring
The PCC is a major advocate of mentoring support as an effective tool in contributing to reducing reoffending or diverting from offending in the first place. The commitment reflects a desire to explore opportunities to enhance and expand the mentoring offer in Dorset where possible. This ambition also links with training and education opportunities and other commitments relating to diversionary activities.
This commitment has seen a number of strands of activity across a broad range of vulnerable groups, and often links with other commitments made by the Commissioner.
For children and young people at risk of offending or reoffending, the PCC has overseen the development and implementation of a Police Cadets Scheme in Dorset, with two units already launched and further expansion planned.
The scheme provides guidance to those who may be on the cusp of criminal behaviour, and there are examples of young people whose lives have been turned around after joining cadet units in other parts of the country. The sessions also provide fun activities for a wider group of young people, boosting their confidence and enabling them to play a positive role in their communities.
Experienced and skilled volunteer leaders provide support, guidance and leadership to the cadets. Following some dedicated work to tackle anti social behaviour in Poole, the Commissioner also agreed to fund the Pop Up Youth Club initiative as a diversionary activity and means of engaging with younger people on the fringes of offending.
A further three initiatives have also been commissioned with a focus on children and young people:
- Action for Children to provide ongoing one-to-one mentoring support for young people.
- The AIM Community offering a range of interventions starting with one-to-one mentoring then moving into peer group work with a focus on creative and outdoor activities and art, drama and cookery therapy.
- Wiseability delivering a bespoke programme for individuals not in education, employment or training (NEETs), in development with the Youth Offending Service (YOS) and part funded through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the European Social Fund.
We also continue to work with the AFC Bournemouth Community Sports Trust following the success of their pilot initiative in Bournemouth, with a view to developing and implementing more widely across the county.
The Commissioner’s veteranswork has included support for a number of support and mentoring organisations including the Jailhouse Café, SSAFA and the Weymouth Veterans Hub. We also continue to work with Portland Prison and the Ministry of Justice to develop a dedicated ‘veterans community’ within the prison to provide mentoring and peer support to inmates.
For female offenders the PCC has funded the Footprints pilot scheme to provide an experienced female support worker to support female offenders across Dorset to reduce their re-offending. Footprints will mentor, provide support, and ensure the female is safeguarded and has access to services.
The PCC has funded three Community Circles by Circles South West from April 2019, working with sex offenders to change their behaviours, minimise risk and prevent reoffending.
Through his Community Grant Scheme the Commissioner has also provided funding for a number of smaller and more locally based initiatives, including:
- Longmead Community Farm – supporting disadvantaged families and young people in crisis.
- Purbeck Tackling Life – football/DJ diversionary activities.
- Footprints Reducing Reoffending Project – mentoring of 200 ex-offenders in Dorset.
- Making Good / Jailhouse Café – Portland Prison employment and mentoring schemes.
- Christchurch Activities for Young People (CAYP) – supporting Youth Achievement Awards and Duke of Edinburgh schemes.