Crime imposes huge costs on our society. Official figures put the annual cost of crime in the UK in excess of £50 billion but inevitably the impact on individuals, families and communities goes far beyond what can be measured purely in financial terms.
Policy makers increasingly talk of taking a ‘public health approach’ to reduce levels of offending. At its heart, this means developing insights into the deep-rooted causes of crime, smarter use of data and working across organisational boundaries.
Catch22 was pioneering a public health approach long before the term was coined. Our ethos stems from a belief that good people around you, a meaningful purpose and a good place to live are vital to transforming lives. We also know how powerful human interventions built on a deep understanding of the complex factors that lead to crime can have a remarkable impact. Our work with the police, in prisons, social care, probation, schools and apprenticeships makes us uniquely well placed to design collective approaches which are cost effective and deliver results.
This document provides police and crime commissioners and others interested in fresh approaches to reducing crime and strengthening communities with details of our work.
We focus on five key areas which together give us the experience and insight to go beyond simply tackling the symptoms of crime.
Victim care and crime reduction
Catch22 works with police and crime commissioners, in prisons and with community partners to reduce offending and support victims of crime. Our victim support, restorative justice and crime prevention schemes already operate across five police areas and provide practical help to thousands of people every year. Nine out of ten crime victims report feeling safer and better able to cope as a result of the support we provide.
Our work in 23 prisons across the UK has supported 50,000 people. Eighty per cent of young offenders we work with comply with their bail terms and do not reoffend. We are key delivery partners for the Mayor of London’s gang exit programme while in the West Midlands we operate a targeted intervention scheme to divert young people away from violent crime. Our pioneering schemes in Thameside Prison have reduced gang violence by one-third.
Catch22 has a long history of delivering social action projects for young people. At the heart of our work in this area is the National Citizen Service (NCS) for 15-17-year-olds, including many from hard to reach or at-risk groups.
We create opportunities for them to carry out community projects, learn new skills and engage with positive role models. Since 2010, we’ve worked with 30,000 teenagers who between them have devoted more than 430,000 hours to improving neighbourhoods and the lives of people who live there.
Numerous studies have shown the increased risk of offending among young people who disengage from school and education. We operate a network of academies, independent schools and study programmes which cater for those who are struggling in the mainstream system.
Despite catering for children with complex emotional and behavioural needs, eight-in-ten of our school-age leavers progress to positive destinations, either into mainstream schooling, training or employment.
Employment and training
Giving young people a purpose and the opportunity to develop a career is one of the most effective routes to combating crime. We deliver high-quality apprenticeships and employability programmes working with partners such as Barclays to improve the life chances for school-leavers who are among those most at risk of drifting into low-level offending.
Nine-out-of-ten of those who complete our programmes progress into a job, apprenticeship or further education.
Young people and families
We help young people and families confronting challenging situations to improve their lives, feel safe and find a purpose. We deliver services for looked-after children and care leavers, children missing from home and victims of child sexual exploitation.
We also work to combat the devastating impact that substance misuse has on families. Our Surrey-based treatment service provides a help line, one-to-one support, counselling and pharmacological support. Nine-out-of-ten of those completing treatment reduce or stop their use of drugs and alcohol completely
As our name suggests, at Catch22 we recognise that people can feel trapped by the system or in negative patterns of behaviour that lead to repeat offending. We also know that the right interventions expertly delivered can break these cycles and enable people to move forward and lead positive, fulfilled lives.
Breaking the cycles that lead to crime: our approach is based on the principles of prevention, intervention and building positive pathways forward.
It goes without saying that prevention is better than cure. We engage in early identification of those at risk of being drawn into crime or negative behaviour, working with families and harnessing the skills of a network of agencies and support workers.
For example, we know that 25 per cent of the adult prison population has previously been in care. Keeping children out of the system is therefore a critical upstream strategy to reduce the risk of offending in the future. Catch22 has piloted a new approach to working with the families of children at risk. Our model has halved the numbers re-referred to the ‘children in need’ service within 12 months and reduced social worker caseloads by one-third.
Positive and well targeted early interventions can divert vulnerable young people at risk of escalating from anti-social or challenging behaviour into committing crime. We have extensive experience of working with family and community support groups and criminal justice organisations to steer young people away from gangs, violence and sexual exploitation.
Positive role models can play a big part in keeping young people out of trouble. In Suffolk, we’ve supported 20,000 teenagers by involving them in sport. In London our partner organisation, Community Links, operates a successful mentoring scheme for teenagers at risk of developing emotional problems. Independent evaluation found the programme delivered significant benefits in terms of mental health and emotional resilience.
For many who have fallen into a criminal lifestyle, it can feel almost impossible to escape. Poor job prospects, low skills and peer pressure are among a host of factors which all too often lead to re-offending.
At Catch22, we understand these patterns and have devised a range of programmes to support those looking for exit strategies from criminal behaviour.
We work across 23 prisons in custody screening and offender management, through to mediation and long-term resettlement. We provide services across victim support, veterans in custody, justice and gang intervention.
Each year we screen more than 3,000 people entering prison to identify those with gang affiliations and offer them support to leave that world behind. Our gang service in Thameside Prison has reduced gang-related violence by onethird while our work in Feltham Young Offender Institution has increased the number of prisoners who say they will no longer carry a knife in public after their release by more than 64 per cent.
Partnership working and local integration are key to providing wrap-around support for young people, ensuring sustained, positive outcomes.
We bring the community together to create powerful interventions involving youth offending services, peer networks, business, police and PCCs, supported housing, social care, schools, safeguarding, children and family centres, and youth groups.
Working together, making a difference
There is now an overwhelming body of evidence to show that no single policy, government department, organisation or programme can resolve the complex challenge of youth violence and crime. Partnerships are essential to delivering a public health approach which leads to long lasting change.
At Catch22, we recognise the importance of rigorous process but also that rigid systems and entrenched practices can get in the way of unlocking the capacity needed to tackle the underlying causes of crime. We believe that good people and strong relationships hold the keys to success. This means not only providing access to a broad range of specialist support, but also sharing information and knowledge across our networks to create an alliance of effective local advocates.
Joining the dots
Catch22’s work on Merseyside to tackle child exploitation is the perfect example of our partnership approach in action. The service was initially commissioned to focus on those who had been exploited sexually or were identified as being at risk. When research and frontline staff feedback exposed a strong link with wider criminal exploitation, the Catch22 team provided the evidence and worked with the Police and Crime Commissioner team to develop the UK’s first integrated offer to address both sexual and criminal exploitation.
To develop and deliver this service we created the necessary links across multiple local authorities, with the police and crime commissioner, teachers, safeguarding boards and children’s social care services. In just one year, the service reached more than 8,000 people through training and group work and provided intensive one-to-one support to nearly 80 children and their families.
Our experience in forging relationships makes us agile and highly responsive to challenging situations. When the Home Office sought urgent help to house child refugees rescued from the Calais ‘jungle’ camp, we were able to leverage existing links and develop new ones to establish a temporary base for the children in Devon within 48 hours.
This rapid deployment of a Catch22 approach was testament to our ability to bring people and resources together, think differently and move quickly. We supported 36 boys through their first days in the country to the point of reunification with their families or foster parents. To achieve this, we worked with PGL, Devon County Council, the police, our commercial partners, local volunteers and refugee groups. The boys left transformed – happier, healthier and safe.
Efficient and effective
At Catch22 we take pride in doing things differently and putting people first, but also recognise that public money needs to be spent efficiently and deliver results. We’re charity at heart but deliver like a business.
We strike this balance in a number of ways. First, we ensure that staff and materials are sourced at competitive rates. Second, we focus on running services efficiently, building on a core team who can harness the expertise of other Catch22 staff to mobilise operations and deliver training. Third, we apply rigorous monitoring and reporting to measure performance and create a culture of continuous improvement. In a recent survey of service commissioners, Catch22 scored nine-out-of-ten for value for money.
Our case management systems and long experience in meeting delivery requirements also provide our partners with the confidence of a reporting regime which keeps our teams responsive and accountable.
Delivery is overseen by dedicated data and compliance managers who focus on:
- regular reporting against KPIs,
- CMS training,
- internal audit,
- compliance frameworks, and
- annual review of overall delivery.
We also recognise that there is no one size fits all approach. Every service comes with its own unique challenges. Commissioners of our services are involved from the outset in design of both the desired outcomes and the process by which we get there.