§ Mrs. Claire Curtis-Thomas
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to tackle the problem of persistent offenders. 
§ Paul Goggins
The Persistent Offender Scheme came into effect in April 2003. It is an obligatory component of Local Criminal Justice Boards' action plans to increase the number of offences brought to justice, aimed at targeting a small group of prolific offenders who are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime. Areas have devised their own premium service protocols which include elements of proactive policing, improved investigations and case management, priority court listings, and strategies for rehabilitation. As well as targeting core persistent offenders, who are 18 or over and have been convicted of 6 or more recordable offences in the last year, as part of their wider crime reduction strategies areas are also using the scheme flexibly to target persistent offenders defined on the basis of local intelligence. As well as targeting core persistent offenders, who are 18 or over and have been convicted of 6 or more recordable offences in the last year, as part of their wider crime reduction strategies areas are also using the scheme flexibly to target persistent offenders defined on the basis of local intelligence.
The Scheme is supported by an information system that is shared between criminal justice agencies, enabling persistent offenders to be tracked as their cases progress through the criminal justice system, and attrition points in the system to be identified and targeted for intervention.
On 13 November 2003, criminal justice areas were notified of the outcome of a review of the Persistent Offender Scheme. Among the key actions being implemented as part of the response to the review are: changes to the performance measurement framework, including giving credit for performance relating to local persistent offenders; and updated guidance to the National Probation Service on the Scheme, which was issued on 22 December 2003.
The National Probation Service is piloting 15 Intensive Supervision and Monitoring Schemes (ISMs) for persistent offenders in local probation/police areas. All Schemes involve joint working between probation and police. In addition, some Schemes are testing mechanisms for involving the prison service in prerelease work with persistent offenders. ISMs target the most prolific offenders in a locality, based on police intelligence. They provide intensive surveillance and supervision of offenders, offering fast access to services and support for rehabilitation, alongside swift action and penalties for non-compliance. They involve other partner agencies such as providers of housing, education and training, alcohol and drug abuse treatment groups and employment services.
In addition, the Government has given the courts new secure remand and tagging powers for 12 to 16-year olds who repeatedly offend on bail, funded the Youth 1253W Justice Board's intensive supervision and surveillance programmes for the most prolific young offenders and renewed its commitment to maintain the time from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders at or below 71 days.