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Early Intervention Helps Tackle Gang Issues Across Wellingborough

ECINS is used as a database to record information to prevent gang and gang violence in Northants.

All schools in Wellingborough have registered with ECINS so that they can work in a multi agency environment to tackle anti social behaviour and youth violence. Preventing gang and gang violence has been recognised nationally and the Early Intervention Foundation has been working with the Home Office with the aim of helping local areas make more informed decisions about how best to identify those children and young people who may be at risk of involvement in gangs or youth violence.

HE: What are you currently using E-CINS for?Empowering-Communities’ Heather Ette spoke to Sergeant Paul Valentine of Northamptonshire Police about the ways ECINS is helping to tackle gang issues across Wellingborough.

PV: We are using ECINS to case manage young people at risk of Gangs. We have mapped out 114 young people who are at risk of becoming involved in gangs using police and other data. These young people have gone through our Safeguarding systems and immediate action has been taken where necessary, but now we are committed to working with schools and other partners in developing diversional routes away from Gangs, much earlier than before.

HE: How have you identified those at risk of joining gangs?

PV: We have used the Police Target Nominal matrix, Intel Networks and qualitative assessments to identify nominals and Gang Networks. Once young people have gone through Safeguarding measures, we have then worked with all the secondary schools to identify those at greater risk, through behaviour, exclusions or poor attendance – schools have signed up on ECINS, as well as a range of youth service providers which enables us to see and share information between us. This has enabled us to profile the youths using a range of risk criteria that has been logged by the schools.

HE: What is ‘Earlier Intervention’ and how does it work?

PV: By profiling these children in this way we have been able to pull together earlier intervention meetings which is quite a new concept. It uses the same principle of MASH or TAF meetings but these meetings are held much earlier, using indexes such as youths who are about to be excluded from schools or who are involved in violence.

We are using ECINS as our preferred system to identify and case manage these profiles. We are identifying gang issues much earlier through awareness training in schools and with youth service providers and we are case managing young people at a much earlier level than we have done so before.

Whilst we are using this approach for our hardened gang lifestyle offenders (who we are also managing better through improved ASB powers) we are focusing on these 118 youths who have been identified as at risk. In addition, 150 females have been identified as being at risk of exploitation by gangs and we are bringing partners together at these meetings including schools, housing offices, early intervention staff, police, school educational inclusion officers, family centres and any one else who can add value.

HE: How does Earlier Intervention help divert youths away from gangs?

PV: Ways we address this is by offering routes out such as employment and skills training. We can also sign people up on a voluntarily basis to our IOM programme which can aid them with a free buddy tracker/tag on the ankle on a one to one individual basis that will instil a curfew to help prevent them from going out and causing trouble.

We have an overarching strategy across Wellingborough that empowers the community more and offers opportunities for young people to get involved and give up their time. We are trying to divert them away from crime much earlier. Our aspiration is to have no school exclusions across Wellingborough as we recognise the harm it causes as they get “sucked up” by gangs.

HE: How will you progress this further in the short-term?

PV: All the early intervention meetings are currently held on ECINS and from September this year we have asked for each school in the area to identify their Top 10 youths at risk of exclusion due to behavioural issues. Because the police are leading on the initiative we get a lot more parental consent than other agencies would do on their own to hold our meetings, if schools carry out an Early Help Assessment they can quite often struggle to get parental consent to have a team around the family meeting. This can be due to parent’s concerns about the involvement of Social Services or Child Protection agencies. We find that when we send a police officer to cross the threshold into their family home to hold non-confrontational, solution-seeking meetings that it is a less threatening environment and this approach is currently hitting a 95% success rate in getting consent where others fail to.

HE: Do you have any plans to extend the use of ECINS in the future?

PV: Our new PCC has included early intervention as a key priority area for the next 4 years and so we have established an Early Intervention Strategy Board, headed up by a dedicated Police Chief Inspector, to operate across the county to address this. We know that ECINS is going to play a pivotal role in how we get better at early intervention in Northamptonshire and we are working closely with Empowering-Communities to further develop our data and risk matrices as part of this process.

We have recommendations and plans in place for the Wellingborough Gangs pilot and for another pilot in Northampton which is focused on managing youths being excluded at school. Our aspiration is to extend the work we are doing in our pilots to be rolled out across the county as a whole.

We are constantly adding new users to the system, with 150 new practitioners trained on ECINS over the past few months and we see ECINS as being the bedrock of everything we’re doing.

For more information contact:

Sergeant Paul Valentine, Northamptonshire Police, Wellingborough


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