West Midlands officers celebrate ex- burglar’s success

Coventry officers have highlighted the offender management partnership working that led to the rehabilitation of a career criminal.

The Police’s Offender Management Unit at Coventry has taken the unusual step of revealing how a burglar who began offending aged 11 has not only got a job but been promoted.

The unit shared the success story to highlight its work in overseeing 600 people deemed to be a risk to the public.

The man first came to the attention of the police when he was cautioned at the age of 11 for stealing a bicycle. He quickly became one of the city’s most prolific shoplifters and registered his first criminal conviction for drugs possession when he was 14-years-old. 

The 23-year-old was released from prison in July 2018 having served a five-year jail term for a string of burglaries. 

Since then, he has been drug-free and has not re-offended. He is employed by a national retailer as a warehouseman and recently been promoted.

Inspector Gary Osbourne, who leads Coventry Police’s team of offender managers, said the success was due to working with specialist partners to identify the causes behind the offending.

This includes tackling issues such as substance misuse, mental health, financial hardship or wider lifestyle issues.

Insp Osbourne said: “This case goes to show that with the right mentoring and support in place – together with a determination and willingness to change on behalf of the offender – it’s possible to help even hardened criminals stop their offending.

“In less than 12 months he successfully transformed himself from a prolific, young offender to a hard working member of society.”

The force is working with the West Midlands Community Rehabilitation Company to enable offenders to break the cycle of arrest and prison.

Probation officer with WMCIC Kim Martin, said: “We don’t just knock on their door to check they’re adhering to a curfew or any licence conditions: we help people with accommodation, education, training and employment opportunities, benefit applications and drug and alcohol addiction.

“The reasons people commit crime are complex and varied – but we can work with offenders to help them change their ways, improve their life prospects…and to reduce crime.”

The force estimates that around half the crime in the city is committed by a small group of prolific offenders.

Insp Osbourne said: “This isn’t just about improving the lives of offenders; it’s about cutting crime and protecting our communities. That’s why it’s crucial we invest time and resources into managing these individuals who pose the greatest risk of harm to our communities.”

He added: “Seven years ago we were managing 70 offenders… now that figure has risen to more than 600. Our team has expanded to deal with the extra demand and we are also now co-located with specialist mental health nurses to help anyone where mental health could be acting as a trigger for their offending.”