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What we do

Following the production of an annual assessment, public consultation and taking account of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s PCC priorities, the following five priorities for 2014/15 were determined by the community safety partnership:

  1. dealing with anti-social behaviour
  2. reducing offending and re-offending
  3. reducing the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol
  4. working with families with multiple problems
  5. supporting vulnerable people (the focus here is initially upon addressing domestic abuse, hate crime and sexual violence)

The priorities will be driven by a series of working groups representing the Partnership’s five main priorities each year between 2012/15. Each of the groups will develop an individual delivery plan setting out their main actions and objectives for the current year. These groups report into the community safety partnership board.

As stated above in determining its priorities for 2013/14 the CSP has also had regard to the priorities set by the PCC and the list below shows that these priorities complement each other and provide a sound basis for delivering an effective community safety programme during the next twelve months. The PCC’s priorities are:

  1. Reducing anti-social behaviour
  2. Reducing the harm caused to individuals and communities by alcohol and drugs
  3. to improve road safety by reducing careless and dangerous driving
  4. to make policing services visible and accessible at all times
  5. to reduce the effects of domestic abuse, particularly violence against women and girls
  6. to reduce the effects of hate crime
  7. to improve engagement with local communities across the Constabulary area.

More information about the PCC [external link]

Dealing with anti-social behaviour

Anti-social behaviour (ASB) is a complicated issue. It doesn't just make life unpleasant, it holds back the regeneration of disadvantaged areas and creates an environment where more serious crime can take hold. It includes noise, graffiti, environmental damage, harassment, verbal abuse and alcohol related nuisance.

Targets for 2014/15 will be set by the ASB strategic group.

More information about anti-social behaviour


The number of ASB related incidents reported to the police is falling across Darlington, and the perceived levels of ASB currently reflect this, with local confidence surveys revealing that the number of people who believe that ASB is a problem in their area has decreased from 17.8% to 7.6%.

What do we want to achieve?

In addressing ASB the Partnership aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • effectively share information to identify problems, and develop appropriate solutions to reduce and tackle ASB
  • reduce the public’s perception that they are victims of ASB
  • improve public confidence that the Partnership agencies are effectively handling ASB

How will we achieve it?

To achieve our objectives, partners will respond to nuisance and harassment quickly and effectively and will make every effort to resolve such situations at the earliest opportunity. If we receive a report that nuisance/harassment has taken place we will:

  • make sure that all complaints are taken seriously
  • encourage those who are experiencing nuisance/harassment to play a full part in actions taken to deal with it. Their views will be taken into account in reaching decisions on courses of action and they will be kept informed of developments and also supported during any legal proceedings that may take place
  • take firm and prompt actions against perpetrators, wherever appropriate, and work with partner agencies to support victims in their homes
  • with the victim’s consent, work with other agencies wherever appropriate, to achieve a speedy resolution

Reducing offending and re-offending

The integrated offender management unit (OMU) in Darlington attempts to resettle and rehabilitate offenders on statutory supervision, who present the highest risk to their communities (prolific priority offenders).

Its strength is in taking a multi-agency approach to managing offenders. The OMU provides offenders positive support, but also ensures that deterrent sanctions and enforcement measures are quickly put in place for those who do not comply.

Recent figures from the Ministry of Justice show significant improvements in the re-offending rates in Darlington which are four percent lower than the predicted rate. Figures provided by Durham Tees Valley probation trust show that the costs of working with the top ten offenders have reduced since 2010 from £439,529 to £173,647 in March 2013.

Case studies

The challenge is to build upon the success to date and ensure that we keep re-offending levels low and look at how we support individuals to ensure that they are fully re-integrated into society – so for example helping them to obtain work.

A: Reducing re-offending and addressing alcohol misuse

A was convicted of 14 offences during 2009 and 2010. He was an aggressive and sometimes violent individual and mostly offended whilst drunk.

He was taken onto the IOM scheme in January 2011 and other than one lapse for being drunk and disorderly he has committed no offences in 2011.

A, working with IOM has completed a course during early 2011. He has continued to have regular contact with IOM through attendance at Probation and Home visits and is actively seeking full time employment. He has had a 1 week work trial with a local manufacturing co. and continues to apply for jobs.

A has now completed his Alcohol Treatment and his probation manager has nominated him to be exited from the IOM scheme due to his excellent progress over the last 8 months.

T: Addressing drug misuse and reducing re-offending

T received a custodial sentence at the end of last year and the IOM unit worked with him throughout his sentence while in prison conducting visits and making preparations for his release in 2011.

He was also keen to participate in a restorative justice conference which is now completed and he has met and apologised to one of his house burglary victims.

T has made excellent progress; he has not been arrested and securing a place on a manufacturing and factory work course. His drug tests are negative.

Reducing the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol

The drug and alcohol action team (DAAT) is a partnership of the primary care trust, Police, probation service and the Council.

It is charged with local delivery of the national strategies and policies around drug and alcohol misuse.

This covers all aspects of substance misuse from education and prevention; treatment and control and enforcement.

The DAAT is currently commissioning a new adult treatment service which will be an integrated drug and alcohol recovery treatment service, focused on improving and sustaining outcomes for local people with substance misuse issues and contributing to a safer community for all.

Connected recovery

The Connected recovery service was implemented in April 2012 and had its official launch in November 2012. Since the implementation of the joint treatment centre the number of people in drugs treatment on long-term methadone maintenance has reduced from 90% to 43%.

K's case study: “I drank so much my life was coming apart. I’d been forbidden to see my daughters, had lost all my self respect and self confidence and felt my life wasn’t worth living. After a spell in hospital and a rehabilitation centre, I was introduced to NECA, a charity which supports people with addiction issues. Staff there turned my life around. I now work as a recovery worker for NECA in partnership with NERAF and help mentor people with an alcohol addiction. I now have my self-respect back and see my daughters regularly. If I can turn my life around anyone can.” 

Young people’s substance misuse

The DAAT designs and commissions the multi-agency specialist treatment service for young people's substance misuse in Darlington. The treatment service is known as SWITCH. Over the last three years SWITCH has successfully engaged with increasing numbers of young people, in line with the local strategy to address an existing level of need in the community. The service generates excellent outcomes with very few young people needing to be re-referred at a later stage.
The DAAT is also responsible for developing the strategic approach to preventing substance misuse by young people and shaping targeted support where required. Our approach in this area has seen consecutive reductions in levels of reported substance misuse, including drinking alcohol, over the last three years. Fundamental to this achievement has been the use of our local social norms approach in secondary schools.

To contact the SWITCH team please call 01325 406222 or 406252 or email [email protected]

Working with families with multiple problems

We want to achieve earlier intervention with families who have multiple problems and ensure that the support they need is co-ordinated.

The community safety partnership recognises the need to work more effectively with the most challenging families in the town ensuring a co-ordinated and personalised approach based upon the needs of individual families. 

How will we achieve it?

The community safety partnership will support and contribute to ongoing work to:

  • continue and build upon the FIT model
  • explore additional working practices/models to address the issues faced in providing an effective service to families with multiple problems
  • explore and pilot initiatives for identifying young people who may pose the threat of harm and ways to support them
  • support the aims of the “Think Families” Strategy

Think families strategy: aim of the strategy

The aim of this strategy is to encourage agencies to provide a whole family approach to the support they offer to ensure the best outcome for families. This aim will be achieved by:

  • embedding the 'think family' approach into all service delivery
  • ensuring that the main Principles underpin all family interventions
  • raising awareness among our employees
  • ensuring that it applies to the services that are offered to families

'Think family' approach

The ‘think family approach aims to identify the broader needs of the family and provide support in a coordinated way to minimise duplication of services, free up resources and provide additional support to the families most in need.

A small number of families are responsible for a disproportionate amount of workload across many different agencies in Darlington and although the agencies may have regular contact with the same family this does not mean that all the families’ needs are being met.

Contact with any service should open the door into a broader system of support. Practitioners from all agencies that work with children, young people and adults will:

  • have meaningful conversations with families so that they can consider the wider family context and how they affect the individual they are working with by involving families within the decision making processes
  • have knowledge of how to access other relevant services to support families and make appropriate referrals where necessary
  • Share relevant information with other services/agencies with the child, young person or adults consent (within the remit of the information sharing protocol/procedures)
  • undertake a holistic assessment of children, young people within the context of their family
  • offer appropriate services to support the identified needs and ensure that all services are working towards the same outcomes.
  • focus on partnership working to meet the needs of family members and not lose sight of the family by ‘referring on’ to other services.

Services in Darlington

There are three initiatives running in Darlington to address this issue, all of which are co-ordinated by the think family board. These are the family intervention team, high impact households and troubled families.

Family intervention team

The family intervention team (FIT) provides a co-ordinated and personalised response to families. FIT has within it a range of professional skills and backgrounds including child care, social work, health, family therapy, working with sexually exploited people and people with mental ill health. FIT works closely with a wide range of agencies in Darlington and reports to a multi agency board. Members include: housing, YOS, Police, DAAT, Darlington Borough Council, eVOLution, and children’s social care. The FIT team work with families involved in all three of the initiatives above and the FIT model of working is used in all cases.

High impact households

The high impact households project started in October 2011 following the murder of a homeless man in Darlington. The analysis highlighted repeated multi agency interventions. Those families concerned have a disproportionate effect on communities, children, families or partner agencies as either perpetrators or victims of crime / anti social behaviour. They tend to experience complex health, social economic and behavioural problems which pass from generation to generation despite extensive and prolonged interventions from a range of agencies.

In Darlington the FIT are the lead agency for this project which aims to reach the critical few families who at the highest end of the scale in terms of the level of issues that they present with. There are approximately four or five families who meet these criteria. 

Troubled families

This initiative was introduced by the Government in 2012. The scheme has specific criteria on which to identify its proposed customer. The troubled families initiative aims to offer support to a greater number of families than the two schemes above, offering longer term and planned focused interventions. It is also expected that this initiative will provide a driver for transformational change for ways of working with individual families. The identified number of troubled families in Darlington is 275 (as advised by government). It is expected that the 275 will receive these interventions over a 3 year period (2012/15). The scheme is a payment by results scheme. The scheme started in the later part of 2012 and is currently working with 92 troubled families.

Supporting vulnerable people 

Services in Darlington

Services offered in Darlington have had a great deal of success in raising awareness of issues around domestic and sexual abuse and in supporting victims.

The vulnerability strategic group has been established to ensure that relevant good quality services continue to be provided for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual abuse. The domestic abuse strategy was written in 2011 and has been refreshed to include changes in legislation and to reflect progress made. A separate strategy has been created for sexual abuse, this has been developed by community safety partners, led by Durham Constabulary.

More recently the vulnerability group has included a third priority in its remit, that of addressing hate crime. This is also a priority for the Police and Crime Commissioner and work is currently taking place to increase awareness of hate crime and provide support to victims.

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