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Birmingham project finding work for violent offenders saves taxpayers £1 million, report says

An innovative project to tackle reoffending in Birmingham has saved the taxpayer an estimated £1 million, a new report has revealed.

The reoffending project supports people aged 18-35 with violent convictions in a bid to find them long-term employment.

The project - which is funded by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster - supports people aged 18-35 with violent convictions and helps them to find long-term employment.

Since September 2020, 236 service users have been mentored by the team at AVision, who are delivering the project.

Of those 236 people, 60 are now in full-time employment and a further five are self-employed.

To date, five service users have been re-convicted of a non-violent crime – giving a reoffending rate of just 2.1 per cent compared to the national average of 25.6 per cent.

The Enterprise for Employment scheme has been praised by independent evaluator Ron Winch, a senior lecturer in policing and criminology at Birmingham City University.

Using the national reoffending rate, a report by Mr Winch said 60 of the Enterprise for Employment users could have been expected to reoffend.

The report states that had 60 people committed a further violent crime it is estimated that this would have amounted to £989,000 in costs to agencies like the NHS, local councils, police and the courts.

Mr Winch said: “It has been a pleasure to be the independent evaluator for this significant Enterprise for Employment project led by AVision. It has helped to transform lives and tackle violent crime through breaking the cycle of violent crime in Birmingham.

“When compared to the national picture and the human and financial impact of violent crime, the funding of the project from the Police and Crime Commissioner represents huge value and proves what can be achieved through focussed investment.

“The project has seen significant reductions in reoffending and has also helped us to understand and quantify the evidence-base for interventions and to embed strategies that really work.”

While it cannot be known for certain whether service users would have gone on to commit serious violent crimes, many users maintain that if it wasn’t for the project, they would have been stuck in the reoffending cycle.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, said: “Promoting rehabilitation is at the heart of my Police and Crime Plan. It means less crime and fewer victims of crime, with all of the benefits that follow from that.

“This project has undoubtedly prevented crime and helped many young people turn their lives around.

“The evidence shows that this project reduces reoffending and transforms lives and that is why I have allocated £400,000 of funding up to March 2024.

“Not only has it prevented crime, led to fewer victims of crime and saved the taxpayer a significant amount of money, it has also provided people with the opportunity to make a positive contribution to our communities.”

Following the success of the project in Birmingham, the PCC has pledged to expand the scheme across the West Midlands.

Avril Grant, founder of AVision, said: “The project has given people a real chance to provide for their families in a safe, honest and positive way.

“They enter into sustainable careers with a renewed mindset so they can finally live a life away from crime and be proud of their remarkable achievement.“Service users have described how the project gives people like them a second chance.”