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Probation staff 'voice concern about Mappa monitoring of freed offenders'

Published 25/10/2015

The case of Jamie Reynolds, who murdered 17-year-old Georgia Williams in Shropshire in 2013, was among those highlighted in the investigation (West Mercia Police/PA Wire)
The case of Jamie Reynolds, who murdered 17-year-old Georgia Williams in Shropshire in 2013, was among those highlighted in the investigation (West Mercia Police/PA Wire)

Serious concerns have emerged about the system used to manage dangerous offenders after they are released from prison, an investigation claims.

Probation staff are said to have suggested cases under Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (Mappa) are not receiving sufficient scrutiny.

One told BBC Radio 5 live Investigates: "We spend 10 to 15 minutes discussing each case at Mappa when it used to be an hour per case."

Another claimed that "trainees are now holding Mappa cases and don't have the experience to manage these".

Under Mappa, police, prisons, probation and other agencies are tasked with assessing and managing the risk posed by the most serious sexual and violent offenders once they return to communities.

The BBC report highlighted the case of Jamie Reynolds, who murdered 17-year-old Georgia Williams in Shropshire in 2013.

A serious case review published earlier this month revealed the killer came to the attention of police five years earlier when he tried to attack a 16-year-old girl.

Although various bodies came into contact with him following the first incident, he was not formally referred to Mappa.

The review said: " Whilst it is impossible to say what would have occurred, it is possible that Mappa management could have helped ensure a co-ordinated, multi-agency approach which may have led to a clearer understanding of risk issues and how they may have been managed."

Georgia's mother Lynette Williams told the programme: "If they had, then Reynolds would have been on the radar of these people.

"All sorts of agencies would then have been involved properly and perhaps he wouldn't be in the position he's in, as well as Georgia."

A wider review of the arrangements by HM Inspectorate of Probation published this week found the quality of work to protect the public from high-risk offenders is improving.

However, inspectors stressed there was more to do and warned risk management planning is "still confused and inconsistent".

The Ministry of Justice said this week's report recognised that in the majority of cases offenders are being managed appropriately.

A spokesman added: "Mappa manage some of the highest risk offenders in the community, and less than 1% go on to be charged with a serious further offence.

"A recent report by the independent probation inspectorate found improvements had been made to Mappa over the last four years.

"The most serious offences are subject to a serious case review, to make sure the right lessons are learned."

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