Peterborough: Sex Offender Help

Cambridgeshire Police want volunteers to work with convicted sex offenders, to try and prevent re-offending.

Police say The Circles of Support and Accountability programme, which is due to be introduced in Peterborough, has successfully prevented re-offending in several other areas across England and Wales.

According to Cambridgeshire Police, none of the 160 sex offenders who have taken part in the programme have committed a sexual offence.

During the scheme, volunteers meet with sex offenders to provide support, and then pass on any concerns they have to authorities.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hopkins, Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements Chair, said: "Introducing the Circles scheme is about strengthening our ability to reintegrate sex offenders safely into the community. 

This is not about reducing the work of MAPPA but adding another asset to our management of offenders. 

The scheme has already proved very successful in areas of the UK and we are keen to begin this work in Cambridgeshire.

Circles trains a small group of volunteers to meet regularly with a convicted sex offender to provide support and share risk information with
the authorities. 

All volunteers must pass an assessment centre, are provided with training and managed by Circles East. 

The process is supported by professionals from MAPPA.

A key factor in re-offending is social isolation and loneliness and it's therefore important that we manage the needs of
offenders in enabling them to safely reintegrate into the community. 

This, of course, must take into account the needs of victims and the community and is overseen by professionals and volunteers.

 Circles East of England co-ordinator, Annabel Francis said: "Circles of Support and Accountability is a brave community response to the
very serious problem of sexual abuse in our communities. 

Our volunteers make a real difference in offenders' lives.

And, in doing so, prevent women and children from becoming victims."

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