Harry Annison writes:

The latest in the Oxford University Centre for Criminology/Thames Valley Police seminar series was held on Thursday 12th December. The lectures during the day were:

  • Professor Carolyn Hoyle and Dr Mai Sato, 'The Challenges to the Criminal Justice System of Responding to Historical Sexual Abuse Cases'
  • Dr Rachel Condry, 'The Criminal Justice Response to Adolescent to Parent Violence'
  • Dr Harry Annison, Dr Ben Bradford and Lewis Prescott-Mayling, 'Defining and Evaluating Successful Policing: The case of Integrated Offender Management'

This blog post focuses on the Integrated Offender Management (IOM) project, which has been conducted by a team comprising Dr Ben Bradford and Eli Grant of the Centre for Criminology and Dr Harry Annison, former DPhil student at the Centre and now Lecturer in Law at Southampton University. The Thames Valley IOM scheme seeks to enable police, probation and other relevant agencies to engage more effectively with those offenders who commit a disproportionate amount of crime and thereby cause a great deal of harm to local communities.

The research project was conceived as 'Phase One' of a larger project, which ultimately seeks to establish the effectiveness of the IOM scheme and to understand the mechanisms by which it may contribute to cohort members' desistance from crime. 'Phase One' involves a systematic review of the existing evidence base; a break even analysis; and 'service mapping', which will identify the form and nature of the IOM scheme as an 'intervention', as it operates in practice.

The research is of note not only for its content and its topicality (with the centrality of partnership working to the IOM scheme relating directly to the government's current 'Transforming Rehabilitation' agenda), but also for the working relationship between the research team and relevant Thames Valley Police officers. The research was instigated by Assistant Chief Inspector Andrew Cranidge and Inspector Lewis Prescott-Mayling initiating contact with the Centre for Criminology. The research project was then developed through detailed discussions between the officers and the research team.

This close collaboration has continued throughout the research project. The research has also been supported by John Edwards, who is a Data Officer for Thames Valley Police and has been an invaluable source of advice and assistance. The researchers have been enthused by the officers’ clear enthusiasm for the research and for the IOM scheme, and their appetite for reflection and critical analysis.

The nature and aims of the IOM scheme speak to several current debates in criminology, not least the challenges of how to define and evaluate successful policing. The Centre for Criminology/Thames Valley Police seminar was an excellent opportunity to discuss these issues with an audience who confront the challenges posed by considerations of fairness, justice, effectiveness and legitimacy on a daily basis. ‘Phase One’ of the research concludes in late 2013 and reports and articles based on the research will be published during 2014; planning for further stages of the research is currently ongoing.

For more information, please contact Dr Ben Bradford (ben.bradford@crim.ox.ac.uk) or Dr Harry Annison (h.annison@soton.ac.uk).