Kingston's Worst Offenders Get Free Oyster Cards and Gym Memberships

 
The 21 most prolific criminals in Kingston are being offered drug rehab, gym memberships and free Oyster cards in a bid to get them on the straight and narrow.
 
The council, probation service and youth workers are also providing help with housing benefits, money to buy clothes for interview or to move away from fellow troublemakers and free training in bricklaying, as part of the Prolific and Priority Offenders (PPO) scheme.
 
Home Office research showed 5,000 super-prolific offenders are responsible for 9 per cent of all crime in England and Wales, everything from pedal cycle thieves to burglars. A lot of them are prolific shoplifters.
 
Free drug rehabilitation is a key part of the programme, because so many repeat offenders are addicted to drugs. Between 70 and 80 per cent of them are involved with drugs. For them to commit offences such as burglary and shoplifting it is the drugs as the generator for that other crime.
 
D Insp. Gallagher said a simple example of the programme’s success was a repeat burglar who wanted to go straight with a job in Twickenham and was given an old unclaimed bike from the police store. D Insp. Gallagher said six months on he had not broken the law.
 
But he was adamant getting on the programme was not a misuse of money or that police would turn a blind eye to minor crimes of He said: “If anything they will be looked at even more. These people are committing lots of crime. It saves money and saves them going down the path of crime and frees up resources for other things as well.”