New links aimed at reduction of crime

A new joined-up approach to reducing offending is to be rolled out across the province following its successful piloting in Ballymena.

Justice Minister David Ford pictured during his recent meeting with Chief Superintendent Chris Noble (Area commander H district) and Detective Sergeant Paul Mercer. INBT22-202AC

Justice Minister David Ford announced that Reducing Offending in Partnership (ROP) will now operate in all police districts during a visit to Ballymena PSNI Station on Thursday morning,

ROP is a multi-agency approach to managing priority offenders and involves the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Probation Board NI, Youth Justice Agency and the NI Prison Service.

Piloted in Ballymena and Coleraine, results indicated that 68% of priority offenders involved reduced their offending behaviour whilst engaged in ROP during 2011/

The partnership has three strands:

Prevent and Deter: reduce crime and anti-social behaviour through early identification & intervention.

Catch and Control: close monitoring of those who persist in their offending.

Rehabilitate and Resettle: joint approach to provide support and assistance to provide a way out of crime.

During his visit, Mr Ford saw the local partnership in operation.

He said: “These partnerships are an excellent example of various agencies working together to reduce the number of victims of crime and to ultimately make Northern Ireland safer.

“The three strands of ROP show that working so closely with priority offenders, by providing guidance and support, yet taking a tough stance when required, has had the desired effect in reducing offending behaviour.”

This model will now be rolled out across Northern Ireland.”