Published: 28 April 2023 at 13:30
ARU leads ‘first of its kind’ study into multi agency public protection arrangements
A ‘first of its kind’ academic report into the effectiveness of multi agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) has found that those who receive management under MAPPA are less likely to reoffend than those who do not.
Read the full report at https://www.aru.ac.uk/policing-institute/research/mappa/national-mappa-research
The research, carried out by academics at the Policing Institute for the Eastern Region (PIER) at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), and led by Dr Natalie Mann, was conducted over two and a half years, and studied almost 40,000 offenders, looking at data from the introduction of the arrangements in 2003, alongside focus group feedback and the analysis of MAPPA referrals.
MAPPA was placed on a statutory footing in 2003, under the Criminal Justice Act, with the aim of strengthening the monitoring of community-based individuals convicted of sexual and violent offences.
Under MAPPA, the Police, the Probation Service, and the Prison Service, along with other agencies who have a ‘duty to cooperate’, are legally required to work together to monitor and manage the risk posed by such individuals (Ministry of Justice, 2021).
The PIER research, which is the most comprehensive to date, has shown that the reoffending rates of those managed under MAPPA are less than half of that of the national average, with the one-year proven reoffending rate for MAPPA managed individuals at 12.2% compared to national overall one-year proven reoffending rates of between 30.0% and 31.3% over a similar time frame.
PIER researchers conducted extensive focus groups with practitioners from sectors including the Police, Probation Service, the Prison Service, youth offending teams, victim support and social care, examined a sample of MAPPA referrals, and analysed panel meeting minutes.
They also reviewed a large number of MAPPA serious case reviews, in order to investigate the efficacy of the arrangements. The research was made up of three components: proven reoffending analysis, process effectiveness analysis and a serious case review analysis.
Focus group discussions found that MAPPA is a well-respected and highly valued mechanism for managing the risk posed by individuals convicted of sexual and violent offences. It also however, found a number of limitations of the processes, including the number of individuals being declined for MAPPA management when the nature of offending suggests they should indeed be managed under MAPPA, and a need to enhance MAPPA training and guidance linked to serious case reviews.
It also found that proven reoffending rates were consistently higher for MAPPA managed individuals aged 18 and under and that there was a clear ‘cliff edge’ moment when those managed by youth offending teams were transferred over to adult services.
ARU’s Professor Samantha Lundrigan, Director of PIER and one of the lead researchers on the project, said:
“We’re extremely pleased to share the results of our research, which has taken place over a two and a half year period, using a bespoke dataset in a way that has never been carried out before.
“The topline message from our research is that MAPPA is working extremely well and that the arrangements are successfully reducing harm through their interventions in a significant way. The many practitioners we spoke with over the course of our research were in clear support of the processes and everything they sought to achieve. There are however areas where urgent work is needed to respond to the gaps in effectiveness of the processes and to prevent harm occurring where it could be prevented.
“I’d like to thank the Dawes Trust for funding this programme of research and the many practitioners who gave their time to contribute towards our research and understanding. I hope that our recommendations will be taken forward to further strengthen the excellent work underway in partnership, to reduce harm and offending.”
The reports outline a number of recommendations for improvement, including enhanced management of individuals convicted of domestic abuse or sexually motivated crimes to ensure they can be managed under MAPPA, the development of a new MAPPA training package to address deficits in the current training provision and more effective use of MAPPA to manage young people transitioning from youth to adult services.
Chief Constable Michelle Skeer QPM, National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for the Management of Sexual Offenders and Violent Offenders, said:
“This is a really important piece of research in understanding the efficacy of the MAPPA arrangements. MAPPA is the foundation stone on which public protection is built, we manage tens of thousands of offenders in the community and do so effectively thanks to the provisions of MAPPA.
“I am really pleased that the research has found that MAPPA is working extremely well and I look forward to continuing to work with our partners to further develop and strengthen our response to protect the public from harm and keep our communities safe.”
The full research reports carried out by ARU into MAPPA can be accessed at https://www.aru.ac.uk/policing-institute/research/mappa/national-mappa-research.