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New Funding

Behavioural Change Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programme

In February, the Commissioning Team were successful in a bid for a force wide, standard to medium risk perpetrator programme to the Home Office DA Perpetrator Intervention Funding 2023-2025. Following this result, procurement processes are currently underway for the West Mercia wide all-risk programme, which includes the roll-out of DRIVE into Shropshire and Telford, alongside the standard to medium risk programme in all Force areas. Funding for DRIVE has been committed by the Police and Crime Commissioner. The aim is to have a prime agency who will assess referrals and triage them into the appropriate risk level programme. Procurement will be completed by end of June, with the aim being to mobilise the new service in July 2023.

In partnership with the Regional PCC Offices (West Midlands, Staffordshire and Warwickshire), the Commissioning Team are also currently undergoing procurement processes for a Regional Pre-Arrest Diversionary Service. The Regional service proposal has arisen from the publication of the government’s drug strategy ‘from Harm to Hope’, which seeks to reduce the impact and harm drugs have on the people who use them and the communities in which they live and to achieve a generational shift in demand for drugs. The programme also seeks to support the roll-out of the national two-tier out-of-court-disposal (OOCD) framework that all forces will align to from April 2023 and will draw on the lessons learnt by existing drug diversion schemes. This service will commence as of 1st July 2023, and is targeting simple drugs possession offences and will ensure that those found in possession of controlled drugs are aware of the potential risks they face, including the harms that their use may cause to themselves and others, and are able to make more informed choices. It is anticipated that 670 service users will be referred into the service from West Mercia from an Out of Court Disposal issued by a Police Officer.

Female Offenders

The bid to the MOJ for the Female Offenders Fund with Willowdene was successful, resulting in £247,115 received in total for this project over three years. This funding will facilitate an Out Of Court Disposal (OOCD) Pilot targeting women subject to Penalty Notice Disorders and/or Shoplifting Community Resolution Cautions. The West Mercia bid was one of only four schemes funded by the MOJ out of twenty-nine who applied and will be subject to on-going evaluation from the MOJ.

Putting Victims and Survivors First

Multi-Crime Services

The Victim Advice Line (VAL) in Q4, received 3,837 referrals where victim needs were identified, an increase from Q3 (3,452), closing the year with a total of 15,564. Of those referred in Q4, 826 victims had their initial needs met by the VAL service, with 1,627 victims having their needs met by VAL triage and other support services. At year end, 5,894 (Q4 1595) victims felt they’d achieved 1 or more positive outcomes, the majority of which indicated the main improvement being around feeling better informed and empowered to act. VAL still has a waiting list which changes daily. Positively, waiting times have reduced due to the new staff (2 x Victim Care Co-ordinator’s recruited Q2). The focus for VAL now, as discussed at Q4’s contract monitoring meeting, is to develop the quality of contact with an ideal return to (where appropriate) 3 contact attempts at different times of day. This is in addition with the development of technology to improve the victim experience, such as not using an unknown number to call, which in turn may encourage a victim to answer.  With Microsoft Teams rollout VAL also want to develop options for improving the offer around virtual contact for victims. The recording of demographic data still demonstrates high volume of ‘not stated’ particularly around race, sexuality, and disability. Feedback from VAL has stated that officers have received training to improve knowledge and awareness of how to ask victims these questions in a way that explains to victims why it is being asked for. This will continue to try and improve data capture, with VAL victim care co-ordinators habitually trying to re-approach or backfill this if contact / support is successful / requested.

“I live on my own. It was particularly helpful to have someone to talk to. It gave me confidence to move on and to try and put it out of my mind, also the fact that the line was always open to have further conversation if I felt I needed it.”

Victim Support received a total of 1710 referrals (KPI is 2100) of which 1480   were ‘valid referrals’ for 22/23 (Q4 385). Of those referrals received, Q4 saw the largest number of self-referrals at 117, of which the majority came via the Victim Support website. Positively, Q4 saw a rise in those received via the VAL (115). It is observed that other police forces tend to refer directly to VS rather than going through the VAL. In terms of the victim’s journey, 89% report feeling more able to cope following support, but victims continue to demonstrate dissatisfaction for the CJS, with 49% reporting improvement in their experience of the CJS. All too often victims are happy to be supported but frustrated by CJS processes outside of VS control.

“If it hadn’t been for you, I don’t think I could have gone on to give evidence in court. I only wish I’d had your support sooner.”

16 cases were referred for RJ in Q4, with 63 people supported for RJ processes. RJ captures the outcomes of victims via ‘outcome star’ wheels. Evidentially RJ outcomes shows a more holistic picture for victims, with most not just achieving a ‘better informed’ picture but also a more balanced rounded improvement across all outcome areas. This includes their experience of ‘reintegrating’ after a crime or their overall ‘experience of the CJS’.

“I am very grateful to you for helping him understand the consequences of his action.”

The Victim Support multi-crime support service will now enter its final contract extension year with the timetable for recommissioning being planned.

Modern Slavery Human Trafficking

The VS MSHT Advocate has been utilised for 3 WMP operations. Due to low uptake and identified barriers in understanding of MSHT and using NRM referral processes, it was agreed the role could be developed to support partners and improve awareness. The worker has now fed into key strategic partnership meetings to promote awareness around the challenging and complex nature of MSHT. This is to try and ensure the key messaging is disseminated and appropriate identification, response to, and support of those who are so vulnerably exploited, but all too often criminalised, is improved. Case study evidence shows some of the issues faced which include; the complexity of prosecuting Serious Organised Crime, questionable negative outcomes once an NRM is submitted, length of time taken to reconsider NRM requests, and treating MSHT victims as offenders. Our funded advocate will now network on a national level with Hope For Justice supporting work around UK accreditation for IMSA advocacy and the local publication of some leaflets / posters / cards to aid awareness.

Hate Crime

Victim Support’s I am ME! Project continues to be in demand and is gaining great traction after another successful quarter. Hosting 6 awareness and training sessions with 76 participants, and 8 outreach events (mostly at education establishments) reaching 436 people / students. Recording feedback and outcomes, particularly from those with learning disabilities is being developed to improve evaluation of the service. The training and development officer also brought together agencies holding 3 meetings with partners, one of which brought the Force Hate Crime together (for the first time), to improve and promote more joined up working, data sharing and responses to hate crime.

Harm caused by roads

PCC funded RoadPeace; The West Mercia support group for those bereaved continues to meet online monthly. Some members of the group are going to provide some content to be used by the West Mercia Road Safety Team for social media posts during Road Safety Week, as a part of the RoadPeace Challenge. The Resilience Building Programme commenced on the 30th of March. This programme consists of 8 weekly sessions via Zoom, delivered by two qualified counsellors. The programme is thoroughly evaluated, and this evaluation will be shared in the first monitoring report of the next financial year. RoadPeace initiated a very successful Roundtable event in November 2022 which was chaired by the APCC. The aim of which was bringing together multiple stakeholders and those who may have interest in the RoadPeace West Mercia Project, to discuss support and justice for the victims of road traffic crashes. In addition, with identifying examples of best practice, areas for improvement and how to promote support available. Due to the positive feedback from the day, a further Roundtable event is being planned for 2024.

“When I talk to those who have not been through it, they may try to understand, but they will never really see it through my eyes.  I have been able to meet people who understand and to speak openly with people who know what I am going through.”

Sexual Violence

WMRSASC in partnership with AXIS are continuing to provide ISVA services across the region. In the year April 2022 to the end of March 2023 they received 1622 referrals which was just short of the revised 1660 target set in Qtr 3 following an MOJ uplift in funding. Although the number of referrals received during the year are slightly lower than the target set, the number of clients receiving support increased by 134 between Q1 and Q4. The increase in existing clients currently being supported is a reflection on the long delays within the criminal justice process and the pressures on ISVA capacity.

“You saved my life numerous times. You always seem to notice the signs. Thank you for always having the time.”

During Q4 WMRSASAC and Axis reported that client confidence with the criminal justice process has fallen to below 50%. This has not come as a surprise, and again appears to reflect the delays within the criminal justice process with some victims waiting over three years for cases to come to trial.

Work has begun on the development of the Complex Care Pathfinder, with the Integrated Care Services in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin collaborating with specialist victim services. It is anticipated that the project will go live in the Autumn.

Child Sexual Exploitation

In 2022/2023 the Branch service worked with 305 CYP directly, many of the children and young people are staying with the service longer due to the delays in the court’s services. The Branch Practitioners work with a young person to understand what factors in their life may lead to an increased risk of CSE and identify what long-term support is needed. The Branch waiting list increased during Q4, this is partly due to the rise in Shropshire referrals.

To provide further support we have been able to successfully advertise and recruit a new part time Shropshire Branch worker who began her role in April.

The CYP SARC Service has fully moved into the new site at Darlaston Healthcare Centre. There were 285 referrals for Children and Young People (CYP) from West Mercia to the paediatric SARC in Darlaston in the year beginning April 2022 to the end of March 2023, of these 87 were police referrals.

NHS England were notified of an announced CQC inspection of West Midlands Regional CYP / Willow Tree SARC on Tuesday 7th February 2023. Informal feedback from Mountain Healthcare Ltd said: “there were no immediate concerns, regulatory notices, or breaches. CQC were pleased with the improvements in safeguarding and felt all the processes were robust. It felt very positive.The inspection was announced due to the providers change in registered address due to the move to Darlaston Health Centre in 2022.

Domestic Abuse

  1. West Mercia Women’s Aid (WMWA) IDVA Service has completed the final quarter of the first year of the three-year contract. Demand for the service has grown again with 600 referrals this quarter, equating to 2238 referrals over the year for the core IDVA contract, Hospital IDVAs (HIDVA) and Young Person’s IDVAs (YPIDVA).

This is the highest number of referrals recorded this year. 183 referrals were received for DRIVE IDVAs. Of those that were deemed appropriate,1391 victims and survivors have been supported and were fully engaged with the IDVA, HIDVA and DRIVE IDVA service.

72% of victims/survivors referred, have engaged with the service over the last quarter and throughout the year. Overall, 98% of those leaving the service reported cessation or reduction in all abuse types and 99% a reduction in further risk of harm. The YPIDVAs supported 89 victims and survivors.

Timely contact has continued to be a priority, with 96% of high-risk victims/survivors contacted within 48 hours and 97% within 48/72 hours. Those that have not been contacted within these time periods, will be raised as training needs with the team as a whole. At the Q4 contract meeting, the Service Manager detailed a Team Away Day that had recently been held, which proved useful for new members of the team where such matters were addressed, with the importance of accurate recording highlighted. Women’s Aid report that they are expecting to become fully staffed for Quarter 1, which will have a positive impact on the referrals and engagement numbers for all specialist roles.

YPIDVAs received a significant increase in referrals this quarter, with 55 received and 41 engaging in support. Recently, there has been a change in the team structure for YPIDVAs, with a CYP Strategic Lead in place alongside 2 Senior IDVAs who will manage the team. It is believed that the new structure has had the positive impact on referrals, and it is hoped that this will continue in the second year of the contract.

There has also been an increase in referrals for the Family Court IDVAs this quarter which has been impacted by an IDVA returning from maternity leave. It is also hoped that referrals will continue to be increased under this specialist role.
Women’s Aid report that they are expecting to become fully staffed within the next couple of months, which will have a positive impact on the referrals and engagement numbers for all specialist roles.

West Mercia Women’s Aid Children and Young People’s Project: the CYP Project received 386 referrals throughout this year, with 98 in Q4, and have supported 162 children and young people through their group programmes and 1-2-1 support. Most referrals continue to be made internally or from Social Care. Demand has been evidenced across all age groups, with the largest number of referrals coming from those aged 11-13 years old. It has been noted that there is a growing number of children aged 4-7 years old requiring support. This year, 85 CYP have completed a programme of support. A new CYP Strategic Lead is now in place as detailed above, who brings a wealth of experience and specialist CYP skills to develop the service further to try and meet demand. Over the year, 90% of participants report that their confidence has improved, and that 89% understand positive and healthy relationships.

Early Intervention and Prevention

Child Criminal Exploitation

The Children’s Society’s CLIMB service sustained support to 631 children and young people aged 10-17 years-old during 22-23.  Evident is the rising impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on families. A challenge for the service has been the increasing complexity of supporting and stabilising a young person, as access to mental health provision, sustainable diversionary activity, or navigating systems with them, come under increasing demand and pressure, reflected by longer times in service. During the year, 158 children and young people came through the CLIMB service having achieved a positive outcome by reducing their risk and improving their prospects. This was by sustaining an education placement or diversion into a vast array of activity tailored to need such as boxing, creative arts, or music.

“I enjoy our sessions too. Climb is the rainbow that came from the black cloud I was under.”

“Your ‘real friends’ can become your worst enemies.” A supported YP who was asked what they may tell their year 7 self.

“I was really close to getting involved in county lines, but now everything’s going the right way. I’ve GOT to get an apprenticeship this year. Even if it means going to college to re-do my GCSE’s.” Shropshire YP

“I used to get exclusions every week and now I don’t. Used to be naughty at home and start fights, but now I don’t. I want to be in IT, now that I’m not naughty at school it’s easier because I’m in lessons” Supported YP

The PCC funded Exploitation & Vulnerability Trainers have reached 4485 delegates in 22/23, spanning over 160 organisations, by delivering 199 sessions. Evidently, they are wide reaching, high impact (from the feedback received) and value for money for the reach/impact they have. They have achieved this, despite being short staffed since December 2022, recruitment is currently ongoing.

Child Sexual Exploitation

Purple Leaf Early Intervention and Prevention CSE Service with additional funding have developed 2 new roles; a Family Support Practitioner who will work alongside an Early Intervention Practitioner who can support dual experience cases; where a child or young person may be at risk of being harmed and who may also cause harm to others. A gap was identified for this dual experience support and the work follows the whole family approach with integrated parental/carer sessions where appropriate.

The early warning signs were a new idea I had not encountered before.”

The core Purple Leaf contract continues to achieve great success with its targeted education programme, delivering a modular programme tailored to the needs of a school, group or individual. Sessions are focused on consent, gender, sexualisation, social media, pornography, and bystander intervention. 2,431 children and young people across Hereford, Worcester and Shropshire are currently receiving either a group or a 1:1 session.

Of those supplying feedback this latest quarter, 99% report that they have an increased understanding of consent and healthy relationships. The confidence to challenge behaviours is rising each quarter and reached 100% this quarter (*out of 30 responses to that question*).

“The new information about grooming and how to report it, cause when I was in year 9 being groomed and sexual exploited there wasn’t this type of support and was kind of pushed aside so glad it’s getting talked about now.”

Additionally, Purple Leaf have also delivered 41 sessions, reaching over 706 professionals to ensure key messaging and consistent approaches are cascaded through their awareness and learning sessions. Noteworthy, is the increase this year in the uptake of parents and carers across these areas, attending the parental CSE awareness session offer, with 81 attending and steadily rising. No doubt this is supported by the Purple Leaf team working in partnership with schools and families, in overcoming some of the barriers that were deterring parents in acknowledging the prevalence and risk of CSE. 

The Richmond Fellowship deliver MyTime in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin. The Service in Shropshire ceased as of 31st March 2023 due to an end of contract with Shropshire Council. Telford Council have also re-commissioned their Perpetrator Programme which will be provided by a different provider as of June 2023.

The programme has been largely underutilised in both Shropshire and Telford, despite efforts to encourage referrals. The unmet provision for high-risk perpetrators has caused issues, as these referrals cannot safely engage in group work behaviour change interventions. Low referrals numbers continue to be an issue so further networking has been arranged.

Worcestershire and Herefordshire’s DRIVE contract has seen a total of 49 high risk perpetrators allocated this quarter, with 49 associated victims/survivors and 112 associated children and young people. 16 of these perpetrators have been from Herefordshire and 33 in Worcestershire. A highlight this quarter and for the year is that the Key Performance Indicator targets have been reached with 125 in Worcestershire and 62 in Herefordshire over the year. The team are now fully staffed, with positive working relationships being reported with partner agencies and the victim’s IDVA provision. Further support has been provided to perpetrators in terms of onward referrals to Substance Misuse services and support provided to move out of the home to protect victims.

The Service Manager reports that the team are continuing to build positive working relationships with multiagency partners, and individuals who work within these agencies are becoming more aware of the service. 

Of note, those with closed cases report an 86% reduction in high-risk physical abuse, and 100% reduction in high-risk sexual abuse, harassment and stalking and jealous, controlling and coercive behaviours.

Remember Veterans has made connections with & promoted the service to Citizen policing West Mercia where an Initial meeting has taken place. A presentation has been created to share with Police which summarises what the service delivers. The YSS website has been updated and is now live. All referrals are now submitted using the website. This process ensures all new referrals go to one centralised area and will be inputted on to the CRM by the referrals co-ordinator. Future plans include offering training to Probation updating them on RV and the services available in the local area and update relevant partners and internal services of the AFC Legislation & guidelines.

Crimestoppers, over the last 3 months Crimestoppers have delivered a County Lines campaign to support West Mercia with ‘Identification Week’ and have also promoted the collaboration event held in January. This work will be continued throughout 2023 and they will again be working with East Midlands and potentially other force areas to make a bigger impact on the crime type. Work has been completed with the ‘Most Wanted’ campaign and West Mercia are now actively using the facility.

Willowdene female offender service; The year has finished well with 56 referrals leading to 49 women engaging with the service (against an anticipated engagement of 45). The residential bed space has also been used fully for the quarter for a 12-week placement meaning that the space has been used for a total of 41 weeks of the year by four women. Achievement of qualifications continues to be strong with women consistently reporting improvement against all the self-evaluated criteria in relation to; experience of relationships, substance misuse and domestic abuse. Within the quarter Willowdene has been re-awarded a renewal of its Matrix Accreditation for the quality of information, advice, and guidance work.

DIVERT is an education programme that improves treatment pathways, diverts drug users from long-term drug use and reduces drug-related crime. For Q4, there were 209 referrals, with a total of 741 for the year. This quarter has seen an increase of 14.2% in referrals compared to Q3. Work was completed last quarter between the Force and Cranstoun to encourage more referrals from Officers. A total of 237 service users attended groups this year. DIVERT is currently commissioned until 30th June 2023, having been awarded an extension of 3 months. Procurement processes are currently underway with the Regional PCC Offices, to procure a regional Pre-Arrest Diversionary Service. It is anticipated that this new service will commence as of 1st July 2023.

Ensure a robust response to serious and organised crime to reduce the harm it causes in our communities

The fly-tipping grant round which was launched in September 2021 earmarking £100,000 over two years for initiative to tackle fly-tipping on private land is due to be completed in October 2023 but some examples of what has so far been achieved are:

  • Herefordshire: CCTV Cameras These are being deployed and monitored; Proposed publicity of using the fly tipping sign on the side of refuse collection vehicles.
  • Telford & Wrekin: Operation Fly tip Thiscontinues to develop though a multi- agency approach, working closely with Police, National Farmers Union, Harper Adams university and the Environment Agency to combat fly-tipping.
  • West Mercia Wide: Tyre Tagging Scheme 107 garages have now signed up to the scheme and 45 fly-tipping incidents have been reported.

Reduce the excessive harm associated with West Mercia’s roads

MORSE has had a steady flow of referrals in Q4 with an increase of referrals coming from the Probation service and more complex high risk or high-level driving offences being committed. Each case is assessed individually, and the programme is tailored to meet the need of the individual. MORSE have also seen a steady flow of referrals through from the Police, often getting a referral in before they get to court which has helped to build a good rapport with clients whilst supporting them as they go through court and onto probation. MORSE are in the process of exploring additional funding opportunities and are looking to increase their visibility in other regions nationally. They have conducted discussions with both Warwickshire and The Wirral where they have promoted their model and are looking to see if a pilot project can be put in place.

“MORSE was very clear and made things very easy to understand, they made me believe we had a mutual respect and helped me to understand my actions and the effects they have on others and appreciating the affects it has on their families. They constantly asked me about my cocaine misuse and supported me in continuing efforts to ensure it is now behind me. I pledge to continue to clearly understand the risks and dangers of my actions and will continue to respect the law and the safety of others.”

Reforming West Mercia

Community Safety Partnership’s:

The five CSPs of West Mercia covering the 5 different Policing areas were awarded a combined total of £636,541 for 22/23. This is split by:

Policing AreaTotal Awarded FundingCurrent Allocation
Shropshire CSP£98,441£50,200
Hereford CSP£100,666£96,700
Telford CSP£158,934£158,000
South Worcester CSP£139,250£137,313
North Worcester CSP£139,250£139,250

The CSPs fund a wide variety of projects that focus on community support, reducing offending, victim care and early intervention and prevention.

Other Commissioning Activities

Needs Assessments: The PCC has funded additional analytical and engagement resource to carry out a 3 year programme of upcoming and essential needs assessments that will inform future commissioning. The Victim and Offender Needs Assessment will inform the recommissioning of victims’ services, with the Victim Support contract currently in its final contracted year and expiring March 2024. The final product is anticipated for completion in July 2023. The OPCC Serious Violence Needs Assessment has also been completed, with the final product anticipated for the same timeframe. Of note, is both needs assessment contained large emphasis on consultation and engagement to capture community voice and stakeholders, and we look forward to seeing the results.

Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC): Work on the Forensic Accreditation of the two adult SARCs in West Mercia continues. Due to the delayed publication of the ISO Forensic Code SARC’s have been given an extended date of Oct 2025 to meet the required ISO standards. Work to meet the ISO accreditation is progressing well at Bransford SARC.  Telford SARC will be unable to meet the accreditation in current building. The PCC estates team have commissioned a consultant to look at options for the redevelopment of the SARC with a final report due imminently.

Summary of 2022-23 PCC Funding Initiatives

Please follow the link below to obtain more information about all of the OPCC funded projects during 2022-23:

Current and Historic Funding Portfolio – West Mercia Police Crime Commissioner (