Page last updated at 05:44 GMT, Wednesday, 21 October 2009 06:44 UK

New crime tactic 'cut burglaries'

A burglar
The scheme aims to deter offenders by offering alternatives to a life of crime

House burglaries in Ballymena were cut by a fifth during a pilot crime prevention scheme, it has emerged.

The Integrated Offender Management scheme aims to turn around the lives of offenders by providing them with alternatives to crime.

Delegates at a PSNI-hosted conference will be told on Wednesday of how the multi-agency scheme helped more than 400 victims of crime get some closure.

Introduced in July 2008, it is to be extended throughout the district.

Assistant Chief Constable Dave Jones said 18 agencies were involved, "ranging from the Probation Board, Youth Justice and the Housing Executive, right through to the Court Service, solicitors and those providing addiction services and re-training services".

If they are not serious in their efforts, they will be placed before the court to be sentenced in a more traditional manner
Dave Jones
Assistant chief constable

He said such schemes draw on the diverse strengths of the various bodies in supervising, resettling and rehabilitating young and adult offenders.

"Offenders taking part were encouraged to disclose all previous crimes through a process called 'Taking Into Consideration'," he said.

"This ensures that once an individual is engaged in education or employment and actively trying to change their circumstances, that they can remain in such an environment as opposed to facing prosecution for crimes that may come to light at a later date."

Mr Jones insisted the scheme was not merely a soft option for criminals.

"The court may recognise the offenders desire to rehabilitate but the individual must demonstrate over a period of time their desire to work with partner agencies and lead a life free of crime," he said.

"If they are not serious in their efforts, they will be placed before the court to be sentenced in a more traditional manner."

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