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Drive to reset the lives of young people and prevent reoffending launched by Police Commissioner

26 October 2023

The Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones, has reinforced her commitment to reduce reoffending with a powerful intervention initiative for 18-25 year olds in police custody across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Project RESET supports young people in the four custody centres at Basingstoke, Portsmouth, Southampton, and on the Isle of Wight, diverting them away from reoffending and ultimately into education, training or employment.

The PCC visited the Basingstoke custody centre on Wednesday 25 October 2023 to see the RESET intervention in action.

Those aged 18-25 years old who have been arrested and taken into police custody will be made aware of RESET and asked if they would like to see a RESET navigator who will then meet with them privately and conduct a trauma-informed assessment.

The service is tailored to each individual and ranges from helping with benefits, housing, intervention courses such as CBT, training, and steps to find secure work. They will also be offered ongoing support in the community.

RESET is designed to provide a critical opportunity to help young people at risk of being drawn into the criminal justice system or who are already involved.

PCC Donna Jones said: “We all make decisions about the direction our lives are going in, and young adulthood can be a particularly challenging period. Often, young people involved in the criminal justice system have suffered traumatic experiences in their childhood.

“RESET gives young people in police custody the vital support and continuity they need to step away from criminality and reset, rebuild and redirect their lives.

“It’s a bespoke platform for young people in custody to make a different choice with the help of others because it provides consistent support at the right time and in the right place, building trust in a safe space.

“It’s simply not enough to signpost a young person towards help; reaching out at a key moment is what’s needed.

“Not only will the scheme tackle reoffending rates, but it will also reduce the demand on policing, probation and other public services, as well as helping young people get the right support to be able to live happier and crime-free lives.”

RESET is being funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) with £50K per custody centre per year for two years for Basingstoke, Portsmouth and Southampton and £25K per year for two years for the Isle of Wight custody centre.

The project runs until March 2024 with an extension to March 2025 if deemed successful.

The VRU is a multi-agency partnership approach that brings together police, local authorities, health, education, prisons, probation, and many other organisations from across the local communities to reduce violent crime and tackle its root causes.

The provider for RESET is the Southampton-based charity Society of St James. Its Service Manager is Paul Mitchell: “Engaging young offenders at such a pivotal juncture is something we’re incredibly passionate about as more often than not, their future depends on the choices they make today.

“We’re confident we can make a positive impact by diverting those individuals away from the path they’re on, creating a new journey full of optimism and opportunity.

“We would like to say a huge thank you to the Commissioner for putting the funding in place for RESET, and we’re looking forward to making a difference.”

Inspector Sean Hopkinson, from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary, said: “Our custody teams take responsibility for ensuring that people who are detained are treated lawfully, with dignity and respect.

“Along with facilitating investigations and supporting the Chief Constable’s priorities, custody is also an opportunity for intervention and RESET provides a meaningful opportunity with young people to divert them away from future involvement in the criminal justice system and thereby reduce reoffending.”

RESET supports other schemes already embedded in custody including a new Drug Testing on Arrest initiative that was rolled out Force wide across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in April after the Police Commissioner approved £600K to fund the programme.

PCC Donna Jones says the RESET programme will change lives for the better: “This scheme places engagement and empowerment at its core so that young people in police custody are able to find meaningful pathways and reset their lives.”