Scafell prolific criminals project axed in budget cuts

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An award-winning Cumbria project which tried to help prolific criminals mend their ways has been scrapped because of budget cuts.

The Scafell Project, set up in 2007, used outreach workers to give one-to-one support and made offenders aware they were being watched.

In its first year it claimed it cut re-offending by 86% and was praised by the then prime minister, Gordon Brown.

Cumbria Police Authority said it was pulling funding for 2011/2012.

In December, Cumbria Police confirmed budget cuts of £18.6m over the next four years.

Asst Ch Con Jerry Graham said the money was no longer there to employ outreach workers, but that the scheme would carry on "in principle".

He said: "We had a carrot and stick approach to the way we managed offenders in the community.

"When they were released from prison we tried to support them by trying to get them housing and employment but if they re-offended we robustly targeted them - that was what the project was about.

'Different way'

"But we would like to reassure the public - we are still targeting and supporting offenders but we can no longer employ outreach workers to provide 'man-to-man marking'.

"We are having to do things in a different way - but managing offenders is a high priority for us."

The scheme was run by Cumbria Police and the Probation Service.

In 2009 it won a national Butler Trust award for good practice.

Mr Graham said research showed that more than 50% of crime in the county were carried out by 10% of the criminals.

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