'8Ways' police project cuts reoffending and saves £400,000
A project to cut crime and reoffending is being rolled out across north Wales after a trial was hailed a success.
A total of 88 former offenders in Conwy and Denbighshire took part which saw their offending slashed, saving over £400,000 in "costs to society".
Prior to taking part, the offenders committed about nine crimes a year and were arrested about six times, costing the public purse thousands each.
North Wales Police and Wales Probation are now extending their project.
Sgt Jonny Hill explained that if the group had not enrolled on the programme - 8Ways: Change your Life - in April 2011 he expected that they would have been arrested about 200 times in total.
However, that was reduced to 53 arrests.
He said the cost to society from those arrests had been calculated at £107,000 rather than £535,000 anticipated had they not been involved in the programme.
The figures use Home Office calculations to work out costs to the criminal justice system as well as the victim among other things.
Sgt Hill said: "Without help to break the cycle of crime, many offenders spend large parts of their lives revolving around the criminal justice system, causing harm to themselves, their families and their communities as well as costing the taxpayer huge amounts of money.
"Our aim is to work together to reduce re-offending and cut crime, tackle social exclusion of offenders and their families, improve services such as education and health for offenders and get to the root of their offending."
The term "8Ways" refers to eight categories where help can be provided covering drugs, alcohol, accommodation, children and families, finance and debt, mental and physical health, behaviour and education training and employment.
Now, more police and probation staff are working on the project based in Bangor, Flint and Wrexham after the pilot team's success in Colwyn Bay.
The teams also include drug and alcohol workers as well as mental health professionals and other specialists who address the issues which cause people to repeat offend.
Hannah Griffith, team manager for Wales Probation, explained that individuals targeted are those who serve short prison sentences and who "present a high risk of re-offending but would not otherwise be subject to supervision".