Eastern police forces explore ‘electronic interventions’ for low-level offenders

Police in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire wish to examine the possibility of self-guided online programmes for those that have committed the likes of minor criminal damage or antisocial behaviour

A group of police forces in the east of England is seeking to explore the potential of deploying “electronic interventions” where low-level offenders could remotely work through an online rehabilitation or reparative programme.

Forces in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, and Hertfordshire have issued a joint commercial notice outlining their intent to conduct a “preliminary market testing exercise”, in which prospective suppliers are invited to respond to a request-for-information process.

The forces are interested in hearing from potential providers of technology that could enable the “provision of intervention services” for offenders whose case has resulted in an out-of-court disposal (OOCD) – an option for resolution of comparatively minor offences, such as graffiti or antisocial behaviour. OOCDs, which require the perpetrator to admit the offence, are intended to focus on reparative or restorative justice, and are often offered with the blessing of the victim.

The four constabularies believe an online and self-guided course of action could be suitable for fulfilling programmes for those that are subject to a Community Resolution or Conditional Caution.

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“The services [should cover a] range of offendersm tailored to meet individual needs and should be accessible electronically by individual users on their own devices, to enable them work their way through a structured programme, in their own time and own pace,” the commercial notice said.

Companies interested in taking part in the RFI process have until 11pm on 29 April to respond. If the four forces – who form part of the Seven Force Strategic Collaboration Programme, alongside Bedfordshire, Essex, and Kent – decide to proceed with a formal procurement, the resulting contract is expected to be worth about £60,000.

The collaborative exploration of technological options comes after Cambridgeshire Constabulary has previously trialled the use of digital interventions, using tools from specialist provider Red Snapper Managed Services.

According to a report on these trials published by the firm, 82 out of 100 people that were issued with a community resolution or conditional caution completed their electronic programme, while only 11 reoffended in the months thereafter.

Sam Trendall

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