Police ‘embedded’ in prisons to improve relations with offenders

The move is in a bid to reduce repeat offences. Picture; PA
The move is in a bid to reduce repeat offences. Picture; PA
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A scheme which aims to prevent crime by building better relationships between offenders and police is to be rolled out to jails across Scotland.

The initiative, developed by Police Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit, is thought to be one of the only such projects anywhere in the world.

A police officer has been “embedded” in Polmont Young Offenders’ Institution, near Falkirk, as part of the project, which tries to get young offenders to consider the impact of their past actions in a bid to turn them away from serious organised crime.

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So far more than 200 young men have gone through the scheme, which is now to be rolled out to other prisons, BBC Scotland reported.

Will Linden, acting director of the Violence Reduction Unit, said it is a “unique” scheme, adding: “It’s the first of its kind in Scotland, actually of its type it’s probably one of the first in the world.”

He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “Police officers within the institution within Polmont are working at building trust, working at relationships. For a long time young people especially have seen a culture of ‘us and them’ between the police and themselves.

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“This is showing that there is only us. It’s different in one respect and it’s also quite simple, this is primarily about building relationships.

“When we speak to young men about violence we often talk to them about things like cause and consequence, we ask them things like why don’t you walk away from incidents of violence, why don’t you walk away from crime.

“When these young men come out of prison they are predominantly dealing with the police and they will meet the police on a regular basis, so the impact is not just within the prison, the impact is post-prison in the relationship they have there as well.”