Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has launched a single online home of services and a specialist call centre to help support former offenders with the help they need to lead a life free from crime Image:Office of Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Call centre service will be run through the charity YouTurn Futures

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has launched a single online home of services and a specialist call centre to help support former offenders with the help they need to lead a life free from crime.

The new county-wide initiative is called Direction. As well as a website, the initiative also has a call centre service, which will be run through the charity YouTurn Futures.

This charity already has experience of working with ex-offenders for the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) and Bedfordshire Police.

The Commissioner has funded a full time co-ordinator for Direction to ensure that former offenders in the county have access to services and support to reduce the risk of re-offending, with a manager working with two call handlers with the responsibility to also connect partners who can assist the individual offender.

Specialist help available at Jobcentres

An arrangement with Department of Work and Pensions puts a specialist in every one of the 13 Jobcentres in Bedfordshire. These specialists offer employment and benefit advice to an ex-offender on the same day as his or her visit.
 
Commissioner Holloway said:
“What’s most important to me is to set up former offenders with the support they need to succeed, not to fail, on leaving HMP Bedford or other parts of the Criminal Justice system so it’s not just the same old revolving door back to prison.”
The Direction website hosts a directory of all the key agencies in Bedfordshire that offer support and advice for ex-offenders, their families and friends.
 
It also provides a full directory of services for former offenders ranging from financial advice to drug and alcohol services.
 
The Direction website is now live and the Direction call centre is on 01582 721010.