Businesses urged to employ ex-offenders to break 'cycle of crime'

Businesses have been urged by the region's police commissioner to take on ex-offenders in a bid to break the "cycle of crime".

Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands Simon Foster
Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands Simon Foster

Simon Foster, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), is meeting with firms across the region to convince them to give people a second chance after prison.

Mr Foster is hosting the Business Crime Summit in order to help ex-offenders make a "positive contribution" to society in the area.

He said: "It’s important that people who have served their time are given a second chance. If we are to break the cycle of crime, and ensure people have the opportunity to make a positive contribution to society and start paying taxes, then we need to enable them to find a job and help them to be net contributors to society.

"I’m delighted so many firms have agreed to take part in the summit. My intention is to convince as many of them as possible that people with a criminal record can make great employees and need a second chance."

The PCC said people with a criminal record are known to struggle to get a job as many employers won't take them on – something he wants to change, ensuring ex-offenders get a second chance and pay their way and fill important job vacancies.

One of the companies presenting at the summit is Locksmiths Timpson, which is one of the largest employers of ex-offenders in the UK with around 12 per cent of its staff having a criminal record.

Darren Burns, the National Recruitment Ambassador at Timpson, will be at the business summit setting out how his firm has placed ex-offenders at the heart of the business.

He said: "As a business Timpson believes that everyone deserves a second chance. That’s why we’ve given 1000s of people the opportunity to put their past behind them and focus instead on what they can achieve in the future.

"Employment can help reduce re-offending, but it’s also good for business, as our staff are often more loyal and even more honest than those who join us from more usual recruitment streams."

The companies attending the summit will all be asked to help design and sign up to the PCC’s Second Chances Charter – an agreement with businesses to employ ex-offenders.

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