East Sussex to pilot Checkpoint early intervention scheme
An early intervention scheme that aims to find a new avenue to reduce reoffending has launched as a 16-month pilot across East Sussex today (Monday, 6 January).
Checkpoint works in partnership with statutory and third sector organisations to deliver the Ministry of Justice’s Whole System Approach to reduce reoffending by supporting diversion schemes, supporting offenders to make positive life choices to prevent reoffending and protect future victims from crime.
Checkpoint works with offenders at the point of charge or postal charge requisition that holds them accountable for their offending, identifying the root causes to their offending behaviour and putting measures in place to prevent reoffending and giving victims the opportunity to be heard.
The early intervention scheme has been trialed in other areas of the UK and has shown to be successful at reducing reoffending.
Chief Superintendent Tanya Jones, East Sussex Divisional Commander, said: “With an ever-increasing rise in the demand and complexity of policing there is a need to find and implement innovative and cost effective solutions to deliver justice to victims and protect our communities from harm.
"Crime and disorder, health and social issues are all intrinsically linked. By identifying and addressing these links, we are likely to be able to improve an individual’s well-being and reduce reoffending.
"Checkpoint is about taking an offender who has admitted their involvement in a crime and placing them on a structured four-month programme of diversion activity designed to address the root causes of their criminal behaviour and prevent further crime in the future.
"This approach can often lead to a more meaningful outcome for victims of crime rather than the traditional criminal justice route whereby in some circumstances the case may not get as far court or that the outcome is a fine.
"The four-month contract has to be committed to, which shows a measure of responsibility and a willingness on the offender’s behalf to change their behaviour. Should an individual not complete the programme, this is considered a breach and they’ll be charged and potentially face court.
"Each case is managed by a dedicated Checkpoint caseworker who will keep the victim updated with progress of the contract and who will provide an insight into the reasons behind the offender’s behaviour. The victim also has the opportunity to ask questions and explain how the crime has impacted on them.
"Although Checkpoint is suitable for many crimes, it is not suitable for all crime types and neither is it an alternative to prison. Where a custodial sentence is likely, the individual would not be accepted onto the scheme. All referrals are assessed by the dedicated Checkpoint manager who makes the decision to accept an individual.
"By reducing reoffending we are protecting others from future harm which helps to keep our communities safe and feeling safe.”
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne said: “There are people out there who want to change and make something more of their lives. So, it’s really important that they’re given the help they need to positively integrate back into our communities.
“This pilot aims to prevent reoffending and future victims, ultimately making our communities safer and alleviating some of the strain placed on Sussex Police and other partner agencies.
“Importantly, it also keeps the victims informed at all stages, offering them reassurance and an opportunity for their voices to be heard.
“I look forward to hearing how the pilot progresses and the positive impact that it has on our communities."