Written evidence from Local Crime Community
Sentence National Steering Group-Probation Association (PB 10)|
The aim of the Local Crime Community Sentence project
is to improve public confidence in sentencing and to raise awareness
of the effectiveness of community sentences and the work of probation
The project is overseen by a national steering group,
chaired by Rachel Lipscomb OBE JP. The steering group meets three
to four times a year to consider comments from participants and
development needs and it organises workshops as appropriate throughout
the year for the benefit of local co-ordinators.
We would like to bring LCCS to the attention of the
Select Committee as the project has demonstrated over the last
seven years that it is an important part of probation work.
With the reduction of courts over the last 20 years
and the highly charged media reporting of incidents that involve
probation supervision it is essential that the general public
probation staff supervise offenders.
a community sentence may be the most appropriate sentence.
that sentence may involve.
sanctions are there for non-compliance?
are the sanctions used?
The presentations do change perceptions and increase
confidence in sentencing and probation, as part of the wider need
to raise public confidence generally in the criminal justice system.
This is because presentations use local "news"
type scenarios. The joint presentation style with magistrates
and probation is interactive.
The presentations are semi-structured and get audience
involvement while giving presenters confidence to stay "on
Key messages that underpin presentations:
reduce crime and the number of victims of crime we need to change
the way offenders behave.
has a role to play but is not always the best answer.
sentences are tough and demanding. They can be more effective
than prison in reducing re-offending and protecting the public.
2. NATIONAL STEERING
The LCCS project is led by a national steering group
with representatives of the Magistrates' Association, the Probation
Association and criminal justice advisers but it is driven locally
by magistrates and probation working together. The support and
enthusiasm of Probation Trusts, their Chairs and Chief Executives
raises morale and helps staff to appreciate their value in testing
times for public services.
LCCS challenges perceptions and changes attitudes
by providing information and improving understanding to a wide
range of audiences. It is not about "preaching to the converted".
It has been achieved by developing an interactive
presentational style which develops close engagement and participation
with community audiences.
Easy to use, case-study materials which look behind
the headlines of media reports of local crime are used to underpin
joint presentations by magistrates and probation. The media reports
are deliberately eye-catching and often economical with the truth.
Step by step more details are revealed about the offence and offender
and a discussion of "before and after" attitudes towards
sentencing is encouraged.
With this approach audiences are more open-minded;
they change their attitudes when confronted with in-depth facts
about offences and offenders which are explained.
The case-study material used in the presentations
has been developed nationally but messages can be tailored locally.
There is the freedom to select and choose the most relevant material
for different audiences.
By using structured presentations and case-study
material it is easy for presenters to present confidently and
work together as a teamwith equal weight and authority.
Through the presentations, audiences understand more
about sentences served in the community, as well as realising
that what they usually read about a case is a sensational headline
which does not always reflect the facts of the case.
3. WHO DOES
LCCS REACH IN
A wide range of audiences have been reached including
victims groups, neighbourhood watch, women's groups, pensioners,
students, business organisations, district and parish councils,
religious groups, minority ethnic and disabled groups, police
community support officers and police probationers.
Building on the successful project pilot which was
completed in 2003, local magistrates and probation are now working
to deliver an LCCS programme in over 30 areas in the UK.
Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Durham and Tees Valley,
Hampshire, Humberside, Kent, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, London,
Greater Manchester, Staffordshire and W Midlands, Norfolk and
Suffolk, Surrey and Sussex, Thames Valley, Warwickshire, Dyfed
Powys, North Wales, South Wales, Cumbria, West Mercia. Avon &
Somerset, Gloucestershire, Merseyside, Wiltshire, West Yorkshire,
Gwent, Dorset Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Nottinghamshire, South
4. HOW DO
National evaluation by the Centre for Crime and Justice
Studies, of LCCS has shown what a powerful tool, interactive presentations
to community groups can be. (2005 evaluation attached).
As important in some ways as the project itself,
is the way in which it brings together magistrates and probation
staff. LCCS creates a close working relationship and greater understanding
between probation and the magistracy without in any way comprising
their respective roles. The presentations are frequently used
as part of induction training for new intakes.
5. ON -LINE
LCCS co-ordinators have recently received supplies
of a high-quality DVD featuring films which vividly bring to life
two of the LCCS case studies.
We believe that the use of these films will enhance
the project by adding a new and exciting dimension to presentations.
The DVD also contains a two-and-a-half-minute "taster"
film which has been uploaded to YouTube. See below for the link:
As LCCS is proven to boost public confidence in probation
trust business and is a key community engagement tool for probation
trusts, the national steering group, the Probation Association
and the Magistrates' Association have advised probation trusts
to upload this video to their websites. This can be easily achieved
using the YouTube embed code.
A key communication tool is the website www.lccs.org.uk
which is important for the general public to access for information
about the project in their area and to provide a source of information
and access to project material for LCCS members.