Police & Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds has appeared on television today to talk about his plans to tackle criminal families.
Northamptonshire’s crime commissioner made headlines when he called for a radical new approach to target a small number of families which cause a significant amount of crime in the county.
He plans to force them to go through intensive programmes to learn how to meet responsibility and quit crime.
Speaking in a film commissioned by the BBC’s ‘Daily Politics’ programme, aired today, Mr Simmonds said: “In one Northamptonshire town, just 10 families are responsible for most burglaries.
“Typically, a family with a grandmother in her 30s, sons, and daughters with children who know no father. Families captured by a life of crime.
“This is not about poverty – it’s about criminality. They have poverty of ambition. They are in and out of prison. They bounce through the courts for most of their lives. The children fail in school; they graduate into drugs and crime at an early age.
“Families like this cost us all a fortune. I think they should have the chance to undergo an intensive programme to keep them out of crime and unemployment. And be given basic job training.
“This would be done over two years, in residential centres away from where they live. It would be cheaper than repeatedly sending career criminals to jail and taking their offspring into care.
“We’ve got to be more radical than sending social workers to get them all out of bed. Sending them to prison hasn’t worked so what else do you do?’
“A model successfully used but not yet adopted nationally sees families supported in intensive residential units until they are ready to be reintegrated.
“They get a daily, highly structured environment to explore alternatives to the revolving door of offending and anti-social behaviour.
“Long term, whole families can turn their lives around and stop harmful and destructive behaviours from moving to the next generation.
“At the moment, nearly one in four of adults in Northamptonshire who are caught offending go on to commit another offence within a year. Those adults who commit offences which receive short sentences, for example theft or shoplifting, nearly six in 10 reoffend within a year.
“There has to be a better way. There is something in the idea of discipline, doing it in a different location and doing it as a family.”