What is the C2 Programme?
It is the first of its kind in the
country. It aims to offer prolific criminals a realistic
opportunity to break free from the cycle of crime for the long
term, and a result reducing the number of victims of crime in the
Launched in April 2007, the Choices
and Consequences (C2) programme is supported by: All partner
agencies in the Criminal Justice system. Working closely with the
Hertfordshire Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Hertfordshire
Constabulary officers identify suitable candidates, who must
demonstrate their desire to rehabilitate by admitting all past
offences. They are then assessed by the Probation Service.
Ultimately, the courts decide and, if suitable their sentence is
deferred for up to six months whilst they undertake an extensive
rehabilitation regime that may include drug treatment, life skills
training, education and employment.
Who is the programme aimed at?
It is aimed at the county’s most prolific offenders, who have
committed a large number of criminal offences and most probably
have some form of addiction that has driven the offending.
The offenders must be over 18 and
impact heavily on the county by the nature of their crimes. It is
not aimed at people who have committed violent offences.
What happens on the programme?
The programme is aimed at those people who are genuine about
wanting to rehabilitate. It is not an easy option and the offenders
spend their days attending drug treatment, undertaking;
motivational work, drug tests, supervision with probation officers
and voluntary work. Unpaid work is part of the community order and
there is a strong emphasis on education and training to give the
offenders a sustainable way of earning a living.
Any sentence C2 candidates may have
received had they not been on the C2 programme is deferred for a
period set by the courts, and they must stay away from offending
and deal with any addiction for a period of up to three years - if
they don't, they will be brought back before the court to be
More about C2...
The innovative C2 programme has
been operating since April 2007, when it began with funding from
the Rank Foundation. There has been much interest nationally, but
replication has only been allowed in neighbouring Bedfordshire. The
intention of the programme is to break the cycle of re-offending by
targeting prolific criminals and offenders who have a genuine
desire to break free from a life of crime. It is a multi-agency
partnership in which Hertfordshire Constabulary works alongside
Hertfordshire Probation Trust and other Criminal Justice agencies
plus voluntary and private sector organisations.
A unique aspect of the C2 programme
is the advance agreement of a crown court judge to consider a
structured community based sentence for prolific offenders who
would otherwise be sentenced to imprisonment. That agreement was
provided by His Honour Judge Baker QC with the consent of the
Senior Presiding Judge. The judge is the ultimate decision-maker in
terms of who is accepted onto the project, however the agreement
allows for the police to prompt offenders to choose to desist from
crime at an early stage of the justice cycle. Eligible offenders,
those who show a real desire to change, are initially remanded in
custody before being released within a structured sentencing
framework, consisting of a period on bail, a six month deferral of
sentence followed by a three year community sentence.
One aspect of the C2 programme is that, as a sign of their
commitment to change, offenders admit to the entirety of their past
offending, generally many hundreds of offences, something that the
offenders themselves say is an important part of their change. At
any stage of the programme, which is almost four years in length,
the offender is at risk of being sentenced for that offending if
they regress and return to offending.
Each individual’s sentence plan is tailored to their individual
requirements. It’s not a one size fits all. The sentence plan can
include drugs treatment, education and training programmes, work
and volunteer placements, compliance with probation , punitive
elements, reparation and many other factors. It is very clear that
this is not a soft option and requires genuine commitment from the
offender for a considerable period of time. The help and support,
that offenders say they require, is provided by the police and
probation team throughout this period of time.
An indicator that many offenders want to desist from offending is
that quite a number have voluntarily sought the help entirely
voluntarily despite the fact that they have been required to admit
their offending and face the risk of custodial sentences. For them,
the offer of practical help is what they know they need to enable
them to change.
Such offenders have committed a high volume of offences and
therefore it has been important to provide additional information
to the victims of those crimes. This is done verbally wherever
possible and includes, where it is wanted, an update as to the
offenders’ progress. The vast majority of victims support a
rehabilitative programme over a sentence that is merely
Whilst on-going supervision of
offenders, including drug testing, provides some level of
confidence in their changed behaviour. Their previous history has
shown that they have committed many hundreds of offences without
being detected by the police and that even a high level of
supervision cannot prevent them returning to offending nor can it
identify when they have. When it is considered that there offending
rate is in excess of 112 offences of burglary and vehicle crime per
offender per year, managing that risk is very important.
For that reason an additional element, the use of GPS
enabled Trackers was introduced to the C2 programme in 2011.
Being able to track offenders 24/7 provides the opportunity to
demonstrate offender change, in terms at not being at the location
of reported offences and thereby providing additional confidence
and support to the approach of the C2 programme.
Whilst that is one benefit of its use, the very fact that it is
used, is a support to each offenders’ rehabilitation. That support
has many angles, there is the direct impact on their motivation not
to offend, because they would be caught, through to not having
their rehabilitation disrupted by activity, such as an arrest for
the type of offending they used to commit, when it can be shown
they were elsewhere. Maintaining a level of confidence is crucial
in rehabilitation and proof of location has a widespread and
Practice has shown that there is a much wider impact, the
willingness of an offender to be tracked is in itself an indicator
of their motivation to change. Its use within the C2 programme
began with offenders wearing the devices voluntarily. Using it to
select those on whom scarce resources and interventions are to be
used provides the possibility for increasing positive outcomes
without increased expenditure.
Practice has shown that as an efficiency measure, the use of the
devices not only increases rehabilitation, it can create
efficiencies whilst doing so. There are the obvious such as
avoiding the unnecessary arrests, reducing investigations of
prolific offenders when they are not offending but also there is
the practical simplicity of some decision making, with the
introduction of known facts into those considerations rather than
summising what may have occurred.
Where control is required or preferable, that control can be
targeted to the individual, by location or timing and the fact that
it is enforceable and known to be so by the offender helps achieve
the desired outcome.
Whilst its use in this setting is rehabilitative, it is recognised
that some offenders will be unable to maintain their desistance and
will offend. Identifying such offending swiftly is important to its
overall use and the detection of crime through it will sometimes be
a necessary consequence.
the C2 Victim Support leaflet, please click here.
the C2 Offenders leaflet, please click here.