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Frustration on the front line because of 'chaotic' police IT

New survey sponsored by the Police Federation unveils the glitches and poor planning hampering Britain’s police forces

Only half (50%) of the UK’s police officers say they can rely on the information held on their forces’ computer systems, a new survey reveals today. And just 65% are able to access a computer at work when they need to.

The shock findings are unveiled in the Police ICT survey of 48 forces run by Policing Insight, with input from the Police Federation of England and Wales’ technology lead Simon Kempton.
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HM Inspectorate Of Prison Report On HMP Exeter

The HMP Exeter Action Plan, which the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke called for following a damning inspection in May this year, has been published.

The HMCIP stated that prisoner safety, living conditions and the prevalence of drugs made him rate the prison as its lowest rating, "poor", and prompted the Urgent Notification (UN) process. 

The action plan included a review of the Drug Supply & Reduction Strategy, stating that by March 2019: "This strategy will ensure that every department contributes to the prevention of drug use. It will include the role of key work, incentivise targets, engagement in regime and promotion of drug services. Progress will be reviewed at the monthly Senior Management Meetings and Drug Strategy meetings."

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Waterside Press: Michael Crowley's The Stony Ground

Despite financial cut-backs, the creative side of prison life always seems to win through. Events such as the annual Koestler Awards are evidence of this. So is the sterling work of, for example, Birmingham’s Geese Theatre, whose The Geese Theatre Handbook: Drama with Offenders and People at Risk has been a staple manual for trainers of all kinds since we had the privilege of working on it with them at the start of the millennium.

A similarly prized work is Michael Crowley’s Behind the Lines: Creative Writing with Offenders and People at Risk published in 2012. It shows how imaginative approaches to confronting offending behaviour – and imparting skills valuable on the outside – can have a real impact on whether someone returns to custody. Michael is a seasoned advocate for improving literacy in the prison setting. Quite apart from giving presentations at establishments such as Bristol and Erlestoke, he was for six years writer in residence at Lancaster Farms (then a young offender institution). He also helped set up a residency at Arohata Women's Prison in New Zealand in 2014. 

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Police Federation to challenge Home Office failure to implement pay body recommendations in full

Following the Home Secretary’s failure to honour in full the recommendations of the independent Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB), the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has started proceedings with the Home Office which could lead to a Judicial Review of the decision.

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Police heroes from World War I amongst those honoured at National Police Memorial Day ​

Thousands of police officers who have died or been killed in the line of duty were honoured at today’s annual National Police Memorial Day service, held at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.

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Sue Wheatcroft, blog author of 'My experience of mental health in prison', in red top with the rest of the Mental Health Together committee

The Custodial Review invites Sue Wheatcroft, a former inmate with a borderline personality disorder, to talk about mental health in prison. Here, Sue highlights the lack of resources available to prisoners who need mental health support and explains what she did about the problem on her release…

At the age of 55, I went to prison for the first time. I take full responsibility for the actions that led me there. However, I strongly believe that if I had received help from the mental health services, things would not have got so bad. I was desperate but received no help because I was ‘too ill to treat’. My story is not uncommon, and the more people who highlight what happens, the more chance there will be of changing attitudes and transforming the lives of people with mental illness.

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Imago Dei Prison Ministry

The Custodial Review editor Victoria Galligan spoke to Sally Treloar, development manager and course facilitator at the Imago Dei Prison Ministry, about plans to open a house for female offenders on their release from prison.

A registered charity, Imago Dei Prison Ministry already works in three prisons offering various courses – including a parenting course – and providing pastoral support, as well as Bible study.

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Lacie completed The Forward Trust prison programme

The Custodial Review spoke to Alex Viccars, Senior Research Officer at The Forward Trust, about the work the organising does to tackle substance addiction in prisons – including female prison HMP Send…

The Forward Trust (formerly RAPt) has been empowering people to break the cycles of addiction and crime and move forward with their lives for over 25 years. We currently deliver substance misuse services in 18 UK prisons and two community services, reaching over 15,000 service users each year. Peer role modelling and lived experience of crime and addiction sit at the heart of our treatment approach – with 1 peer supporter employed for every 4 staff members, and 30% of our workforce are in recovery from addiction.

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TempRocket - Andrew Johnston

It has arguably never been more difficult to find good temp workers thanks to a frustratingly inefficient and expensive recruitment process. However, help is at hand, says TempRocket’s Andrew Johnston…

It’s no secret that finding the right people to add to your team cannot only be a very tough task, but also annoyingly time consuming and expensive, whether you’re recruiting for the police, prison service or customer and immigration services. And this is especially the case when it comes to tracking down good temporary workers, because the process on this side of the recruitment sector is particularly inefficient.

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Step Out Stay Out Pete Bell

The Custodial Review editor Victoria Galligan spoke to Pete Bell, the founder of the Step Out Stay Out programme within prisons. Here, Pete describes how sport turned his life around and set him on a path to help others to rehabilitate… 

Pete Bell isn’t just a football coach. He is also a mentor to the inmates he works with and can empathise with them as he has spent time in prison on the other side of the cell door.

From 1990, Pete served time in the Criminal Justice System and says, “I racked up 10 convictions, I was drinking heavily and had been through a custody battle – and then my son passed away. He was two.

“What turned things around for me was when I faced my final sentence five weeks after my son died – I was expecting to get around five years in prison.

“But the judge’s humility towards me meant that he could see that sending me to prison was not right for me.”