West Sussex crime figures show it runs in the family

CRIME can run in the family, according to a report considered by county councillors.

They have been told that, in West Sussex, 63 per cent of boys with a convicted parent go on to offend later in life, and a poor education/employment history is a cause of many offenders turning to crime.

Statitics such as these were put before last Wednesday’s meeting of the council’s community services select committee, when members were told Integrated Offender Management (IOM) was being used to cut re-offending, through a co-ordinated approach involving strengthened relationships between statutory and voluntary sectors.

The report suggested family ties could reduce the likelihood of re-offending by 39 per cent.

“Children’s lives are strongly influenced by family circumstances,” said the report. “We need to join-up and enhance the existing support for parents and children who are experiencing the most difficulty.”

Thirty per cent of offenders in West Sussex are identified as having a crime-inducing tendency related to drugs, and 35 per cent related to alcohol.

“Drugs are strongly linked to aquisitive crime. Prevention, enforcement and treatment are all elements necessary to ensure a reduction in crime with this group,” said the report.

The criminal justice partnership intended to address the supply and demand for illegal drugs across Sussex, and to address the damage drugs cause to families and communities.

Women offenders experience high rates of mental health disorders, victimisation, domestic abuse and substance misuse, said the report.

“They have lower educational attainment and rates of employment... any approach to engage women in reducing their re-offendng should be ‘co-coordinated and holistic’.”

The report ended: “If we do not embrace this (IOM) approach, it will significantly impact on our ability to deliver the Coalition’s rehabilitation revolution of bringing together agencies to prioritise interventions with offenders who cause crime in their locality, and to ensure the outcomes and efficiencies needed.”