Minister of State Hazel Blears took time off from the Labour Party Conference to visit the Business Forum offices to see the work of the Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP).
She was particularly interested in the success of the drug and alcohol outreach programme coordinated by CRI, which uses intelligence from BCRP members incident reports to identify prolific offenders who have drug and alcohol problems.
Once identified the outreach worker engages with them to offer rehabilitation and social care to try to lead them away from re-offending. Hazel Blears was the minister who signed off the £88,000 cost of the pilot, which is one of only two in the country. The success of the Brighton pilot is demonstrated by the decrease in incident reports once an offender has been engaged in the scheme.
The visit was also an opportunity for Brighton MPs David Lepper and Des Turner and Cllr. Gill Mitchell to talk to the minister. Tony Mernagh from the Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership expressed growing concerns about the problems of getting Court time to hear ASBO cases and the exclusion of retail security guards from regulation and licensing requirements by the Security Industries Association (SIA).
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