The ASB, Crime and Policing Act 2014 is designed to shift the focus from centrally set targets, and the type of behaviour, to looking at the impacts on the lives of victims. Key components in the “putting victims first” approach are the Community Trigger and Community Remedy. These two tools also carry statutory duties for the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), which in London’s case are carried out by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC).
The management and intervention of anti-social behaviour (ASB) cases in the borough often suffered from an uncoordinated approach. Opportunities for joined-up working and problem solving were missed at the cost of greater resource and less effective interventions for the customers most in need. Individual cases were often known to a variety of partners and agencies, but intelligence sharing and decision making practices lacked cohesion. This often meant no single public body was able to effectively assess the risk attached to each individual case, and to take ownership.
- Establish a multi-agency problem solving panel for high risk ASB case referrals; to improve information sharing practices and take ownership of assessing and managing risk.
- Establish a formal risk assessment process to identify high risk ASB cases and maintain a consistent approach in referring appropriate cases to the panel.
- Merge and utilise partnership ASB data for a more informed intelligence picture; make use of this data to allocate resources effectively, in order to target partnership resources at vulnerable individuals and communities most at risk.
Camden has established a multi-agency Safety Intervention Panel (SIP) to manage complex and/or high risk cases of ASB and hate crime. The SIP performs the function of a Community MARAC in the borough. Information is shared on a monthly basis between various stakeholders which directs risk planning, risk management, and effective problem solving across partnerships.
The panel includes representation from MPS, Community Safety (LBC), Safeguarding Adults (LBC), Housing (LBC), Registered Social Landlords, Mental Health, Probation, London Ambulance Service, Camden LGBT Forum, Camden ASB Support Service, CRI Substance Misuse and Street Population Services. The SIP accepts referrals for both victims and perpetrators of ASB and/or hate crime who fulfil defined risk criteria.
A formal and consistent risk assessment process was developed using a weighting and scoring system which applies numeric values to judgements based on a standard form of questionnaire. The questionnaire was produced from the guidance of practitioners and ‘scores’ victims or perpetrators according to their perceived risk. This can be completed by staff across the various agencies which feed into the SIP, thereby encouraging early identification and opportunities for intervention. This embedded process allows for a consistent approach to assessing risk and subsequent panel referrals.
To improve intelligence sharing and targeting partnership resources at communities and individuals most at risk, stakeholders rely on partnership ASB data to identify problems highlighted to various agencies, and allocate resources effectively. Partnership Analysts produce a monthly ‘ASB tracker’ which identifies borough ASB ‘hotspots’ and provides temporal analysis through combining and comparing data from different agencies. Repeat callers and perpetrators are highlighted, enabling proactive risk management.
Identification, Risk Assessment, and Referral
All agencies are able to refer cases to the panel. Risk identifies the likelihood that harm will occur, and risk indicators, together with weightings, are the variables that will be used to predict violence and abuse in the future. Harm refers to the type and amount of abuse being predicted in the case. A “high risk” or “medium” indicator means that there are very clear and identifiable indicators of further risk of serious harm.
Criteria for cases that may meet the criteria for referral to the panel are:
- Risk score: the total score calculated on referral form. If the score is ‘high’ the case would meet the panel referral criteria. If the score is ‘medium’, the case would be screened to see if it meets the panel referral criteria.
- Professional judgment: if a professional has serious concerns about a victim’s situation, the panel process remains flexible and would screen such a case even if they do not meet the score criteria
Camden Safety Interventions Panel: objectives and principles
Once a case has been adopted by the panel, all relevant information is shared about victims, witnesses and perpetrators. The representatives then discuss options for increasing the safety of the victims and/or witnesses, and prevent further victimisation. This is a critical way of ensuring that multi-agency communication and exchange of information regularly takes place.
It is imperative that agencies ensure a total commitment to the process and recognise that sharing of information, working in partnership, risk planning and risk management are paramount to the effectiveness of protecting victims of crime, people at risk of harm, and people at risk of repeat victimisation.
Case management remains with the referring officer unless the panel advises otherwise. The panel can endorse ongoing action plans, or recommend alternative approaches. The panel has the flexibility to pull in additional resources and/or agree to decisions outside the usual process framework for agencies.
Restorative approaches are explored for suitable cases, seeking to apply a problem solving approach that aims to change the perpetrator’s behaviour, provide redress to the victim where possible, and consider the interests of the wider community.
Risk assessment obligations do not stop after the case has been adopted by the panel. This is an ongoing requirement and cases will remain on the panel until they have been resolved, or the associated risk has significantly reduced. There is an expectation that services will carry out relevant actions by the following review meeting.
Partnership Data: Analysis to inform effective allocation of resources
By combining all relevant ASB partnership data and making this available in a streamlined product for relevant partners to access, the risk of individual cases ‘slipping through the net’ is significantly reduced. Identifying repeat incident callers is crucial to identifying and assessing the risk associated with these individuals, and early intervention can be progressed where relevant.
Council ASB practitioners are allocated per ward which helps the identification and management of issues arising, and ensures ownership of local problems. The availability of the same data and the wider intelligence picture to both the council and police encourages effective allocation of resources and joined-up approaches to tackling problems. This eliminates duplication of work between agencies, and reduces oversight of risk associated with vulnerability.
From July 2013 to July 2015
- 40 cases were identified, risk assessed and referred to the panel by partner agencies. 11 of those cases were assessed as high risk, and a further 23 were assessed as medium risk.
- Of the 11 high risk cases, 7 have completed risk assessment reviews and had their score reduced to medium or standard. 6/7 have been resolved and closed.
- Of the 23 medium risk cases, 9 have since been reviewed as standard risk.
- A formal and consistent approach to risk assessing cases has put the service in a strong position for risk management ahead of future threats to resourcing.
- Improved intelligence sharing and decision making practices at the MARAC has cascaded to improve all aspects of partnership working and enhance knowledge of relevant work areas.
- Partnership data provides the foundation for all tasking and resourcing, meaning our approach to community safety is both intelligence and outcome led. This will shape how we approach ASB cases going forward.
Concerns were raised around neighbour nuisance and alleged noise and harassment in street properties managed by a registered social landlord (RSL). One main complainant was dissatisfied with standard noise management interventions, so the case was referred to the Community Safety Service for support as there was a feeling was that the case was “stuck.” There was a lack of corroborative evidence and allegations and counter-allegations.
The community safety case worker made links with the housing provider and police. Risk assessments for the main complainant and additional risk assessment for a second resident were carried out. Both assessments highlighted issues not previously identified and met the criteria to be considered for the Safety Interventions Panel. An adult safeguarding alert was also progressed.
The case was discussed at the SIP and information that might not otherwise have been available to frontline officers was shared and perspectives given. The option of re-housing the alleged perpetrator was discussed, the difficulties and challenges around this were identified and discussed at the meeting as this was agreed to be the best way to reduce risk.
Over time services were able to respond flexibly to the re-housing request, which provided a safe solution for all parties. Closing Risk Assessments show the victims have been made safer through partnership interventions.
The referral to SIP was helped by:
- Providing an opportunity for a number of frontline officers working in different services a space to explain their work, what the problems were and to offer solutions.
- Allowing all officers involved an opportunity to explain and highlight the work they were already doing and the challenges involved in finding a solution.
- Promoting discussion around a possible solution that was then able to influence quicker decision making.
- Making the “victims” feel safer (this has received positive feedback).
- Helping the alleged “perpetrator” move on from an unhappy situation, they are now living in more suitable accommodation, where they receive support.
- Improving engagement and partnership across services.
- A third party was identified who has subsequently been referred into the Integrated Offender Management panel to address offending behaviour.
- Frontline officers who attended the SIP fed-back that they found the experience beneficial and an opportunity to enhance partnership work in the future.
The majority of officers who sit on and engage with the SIP are core-funded by their agencies. The work of the group benefits from the input of a co-ordinator post. The co-ordinator sits within the Metropolitan Police and additional funding is allocated by the Community Safety Partnership to meet the cost.
Head of Community Safety Services