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1. I can tell you what's going on here. Or at least in part. Councils are making cuts which are a false economy. Where you have a concentration of city centre crime it usually tracks back to known individuals usually having to feed a drug habit... (Thread).
2. To handle this you need outreach workers. Some are first class. Some are morons. The good ones know only one thing. You can't help the ones who aren't ready to be helped. The junkies who are ordered to turn up to group are disruptive and often cause others to stop going.
3. So a good rehab officer will tell them to sod off and fudge the paperwork so they can concentrate on the ones who want to be helped. If you keep the troublemakers out you have a higher success rate. But then the beancounters move in.
4. Workers with a higher success rate get results because they concentrate their efforts on a handful of people. If they show proficiency the council will then insist they take on larger groups which reduces the 1 to 1 time. This kind of treatment is about building relationships
5. The moment you start treating it as a paperwork stats driven exercise to achieve higher throughputs the less successful it is. The consequence of that is more petty crime and more short prison sentences. So you are not saving anything.
6. Take into account that a pack of junkies in a mid size town like Bath or Swindon can steal up to £100k worth of goods in a week, along with the externalities of that - policing costs etc, you really need to sink the money into prevention.
7. Here you need to let professionals do what they are good at. But the beancounters keep meddling and not listening to what they are told thus demoralising the better practitioners who just quit out of frustration. I know one who now works at KFC because it pays better!!
8. So what you are left with is the remaining outreach/rehab workers running a paper exercise with large groups/high workload, reduced success rate and a higher rate of reoffending. People who want to get help then don't bother because it's useless.
9. The same is true of burglary and antisocial behaviour. It usually tracks back to one or two families where you need concentrated resources but since we are run by accountants the ratios don;t stack up for them. They don't take the value added into account.
10. The short of it is, if you don't want to spend money on prisons you have to invest in the full stack of prevention. It's more than just having more plod on the beat. You need dedicated, responsible, *autonomous adults doing the job. You won't attract them if the pay is crap.
11. And half the reason MPs have no idea what's going on is they pull in junior policy wonks and bosses to select committees instead of frontline workers. They never get a picture of how it really works. The committee system prefers prestige and title to knowledge and experience.
12. That, incidentally, is why politicians tend to know nothing about nine tenths of anything. They no longer have a functioning intelligence gathering system. They have weather "experts" from London think tanks who seldom venture outside it. Hence the total ignorance on Brexit.
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