Cheshire has a comprehensive set of ways to ensure the public are protected from dangerous and serial sex offenders. It is called Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements, or MAPPA and began in 2001.
Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)
The multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) grew out of the closer working relationship which developed between the police and the probation service. These arrangements were first put on a statutory footing in 2000. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 strengthened those provisions and required the police, prisons and probation service to join together and act as The Responsible Authority for making arrangements to ensure that the public were protected from dangerous and serial sex offenders.
Cheshire Constabulary, Cheshire Probation Area and the North West Prison Service are the responsible authorities who ensure that MAPPA is effectively managed and implemented.
Other agencies are under a duty to co-operate, including the Children’s Services, Adult Social Services, Health Trust and Authorities, Youth Offending Teams, Local Housing Authorities, Jobcentre Plus and electronic monitoring providers.
These agencies work together, on a daily basis to make local communities safer by assessing and managing the most dangerous offenders. This is challenging and demanding work, involving dedication by the staff to ensure the protection of the public from the risks posed by these offenders.
There are, principally, three categories of offender which fall under MAPPA scrutiny. These are:
- Registered sex offenders
- Violent offenders and those sexual offenders who are not required to register
- Any other offender who, because of the offences committed by them (wherever they have been committed) are considered to pose a serious threat of harm to the public.
Levels of MAPPA offending
MAPPA Activity at Level 1 involves a single agency, most commonly the Probation Service, managing an offender without the active or significant involvement of the other agencies
Referral to this level is made where the active involvement of more than one agency is required. Some offenders posing the highest risks can be managed through referral at Level 2 where the management plans are not complex and do not require the commitment of resources at a senior level.
Activity at this level is known as the Multi-Agency Public Protection Panel (MAPPP) and manages the 'critical few'. These are the offenders who pose the highest risk of causing serious harm or whose management is so problematic that multi-agency co-operation at a senior level is required.