Police Now officers tackling crime and Anti-Social Behaviour across Avon & Somerset
Tuesday 18 May 2021
695 fewer anti-social behaviour incidents in areas with Police Now officers – equivalent to 13% fall
Substantial decrease in sexual offences and burglary amongst other crimes
Police Now attracts and develops the most diverse group of officers in policing
Police Now officers are playing a vital role in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in Avon & Somerset.
Communities where Police Now officers have been posted for the last 22-months across the force area have seen 695 fewer incidents of anti-social behaviour compared to the same time period from October 2016 – equivalent to a 13% drop.
Officers on Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme have been working alongside their colleagues within their local neighbourhood teams.
As well as the fall in anti-social behaviour, communities have also seen 231 fewer incidents of violence and sexual offences – a 5% fall in the same 22-month comparison period. Burglary has also fallen with 181 fewer reported incidents, equivalent to a 22% decrease.
PC Rose Osborne, a Police Now leadership programme participant assigned to Avon & Somerset Police, developed ‘The Call In’ initiative with her colleague. She identified an issue with repeat young drug offenders and seized an opportunity to support them with an innovative rehabilitation project.
She said: “The Call In started when we were tackling the drug dealing problem in our area. We ended up catching a lot of very young drug dealers, but despite making arrests it just didn’t feel like we were doing the right thing. We knew that in many cases, once we’d taken away the illegal drugs and cash, these young offenders would only be in more debt and would often turn back to dealing or even worse options to re-earn the money. Although we’re often told ‘this is what you’re supposed to do, you’re a police officer, you’re arresting people, you’re catching drug dealers’, we knew we could do better.”
Individuals enrolled on ‘The Call In’ programme are given a mentor to work with and for six months they are given a schedule of activities and workshops to engage with. If they stay on track throughout, their criminal case is filed with no further action. If they fail, they go to court and face the usual consequences for their actions.
Evaluation is still in progress but ‘The Call In’ is set to be a much more cost effective and successful rehabilitation approach compared to traditional justice routes. Around half of those that enrolled on the programme completed the full six months and did not go to court.
Police Now’s mission is to transform communities by recruiting, developing and inspiring diverse leaders in policing.
In addition to serving as frontline operational police officers, those on Police Now’s programmes develop skills in leadership and problem-solving. They share a commitment to public service, fighting crime and inspiring social change alongside their colleagues.
Police Now has recruited a total of 1,830 officers across 33 forces in the UK, including Avon and Somerset Police. Chief Constable Andy Marsh has invested in his communities by partnering with Police Now for the past four years, with 60 police officers joining the force via Police Now.
Police Now consistently recruits more officers who are women or from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds compared to any other entry route into policing. Nearly a quarter (23%) of Police Now recruits in Avon & Somerset are from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds and more than half (55%) identify as female.
Co-founder of Police Now and former Detective Chief Inspector
Q&A with Police Constable Rose Osborne
Neighbourhood Police Officer
National Graduate Leadership Programme Alumnus
Avon & Somerset Police
What was the most important lesson you took from your training with Police Now that has enabled you to deal with crime / support your community?
I think being a Police Now participant gives you a strong sense of questioning things always, never accepting things the way they are, fighting for change and making a difference within your communities. I just don’t think you’d get that from another job. I’m part of quite a large family and my brothers and sisters and my parents all work in the public sector, mainly in the NHS, but also as teachers. I think that’s quite a strong ethos in my family. Working in the public sector feels like you’re giving something back to the community.
Have you implemented any new initiatives to reduce ASB or burglary crimes, or build confidence in policing in your community?
My colleague and I have a project called ‘The Call In’, which has been running for over two years now. This started when we were tackling the drug dealing problem in our area. We ended up catching a lot of very young drug dealers, but despite making arrests it just didn’t feel like we were doing the right thing. We knew that in many cases, once we’d taken away the illegal drugs and cash, these young offenders would only be in more debt and would often turn back to dealing or even worse options to re-earn the money. Although we’re often told ‘this is what you’re supposed to do, you’re a police officer, you’re arresting people, you’re catching drug dealers’, we knew we could do better.
We were often told that we were doing what we should be doing – arresting people guilty of drug offences, but we knew we could do better to support our communities. The Call In means we can offer people a second chance by providing meaningful support and moving people away from lives of crime.
We teamed up with an organisation Golden Key; those on the programme are given a mentor to work with and for six months they are given a schedule of activities and workshops to engage with. These range from going to the theatre to work placements with the council, sessions with Bristol Drugs Project, boxing classes – all kinds of stuff. If they stay on track for six months we file the case with no further action, fail and they go to court and face the consequences.
Evaluation is still in progress but so far it’s looking to be a much more cost effective and successful rehabilitation approach compared to traditional justice routes. So far, 73 percent have completed the programme. Of those that completed 17 percent have not reoffended 1 year on. The UK average for young people is around 38 percent and so The Call In does look to be having a significant effect.
Sometimes work like this can be challenging because it feels like the cycle just keeps going and you’re not impacting the change you want to see. But you’ve got to be very resilient. Some of the things these young people on the programme have said reinforces that for me; ‘‘[I was] hanging around with the wrong people and devoted to the trap before I had the chance to do something different”.
Using data taken from Police Recorded Crime Statistics, the independently peer-reviewed figures compare the 22-month period from October 2016 to July 2018 before any Police Now officers had joined their local communities to the period when they joined from October 2018 to July 2020.
The data presented here is subject to limitations with Police Recorded Crime Statistics and methodology. More details on this are available at the bottom of the following Police Now webpage.