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Nipping Crime in the Bud: Back to the Future - 3/3

by Muriel Whitten author of Nipping Crime in the Bud. October 2010.

In 1997 the RPS merged with another longstanding charity whose roots resided in the 1870s when Frederick Rainer donated five shillings to the Church of England Temperance Society in the hope that something could be done to prevent offenders spiralling downward into hardened criminal careers. His philanthropic contribution helped fund the provision of the first London Police Court Missionaries (LPCM), who were given statutory powers of supervision under the Probation of Offenders Act in 1907. Re-named the Rainer Foundation in 1960, the LPCM by then had acquired extensive expertise in preventing youth crime and re-offending through supported housing, training, employment and mentoring schemes in partnership with probation services, local authorities, commercial businesses and other charities. With RPS/Rainer formed upon this union of voluntary effort, the Philanthropic identity was masked in 2003 when the charity became known as Rainer.

In 2008 Rainer merged with Crime Concern, a crime prevention charity set up on the initiative of Home Secretary Douglas Hurd in 1988. Primed with Home Office funding and aiming to extend the role of crime prevention beyond the remit of professional police, its innovative schemes for creating safer communities were developed in collaboration with local authorities and in partnership with young people, their families, friends and private companies. Re-branded as Catch22, this newly forged charity now provides for nearly 40,000 young people (aged 10 to 25) who find themselves in difficult situations in 150 communities across the UK. It also forms part of the consortium which has signed the first prison building, management, through-care and resettlement service contract awarded by the Ministry of Justice to an alliance of the private and voluntary sectors.

Catch22's mission to 'promote opportunities for the development, education and support of young people in need to lead purposeful, stable and fulfilled lives and to create safer, inclusive, crime-free communities for the benefit of the public' still closely echoes eighteenth-century ambitions. We can imagine, nonetheless, that its manifestation in these twenty-first-century innovations would have absolutely astounded the Philanthropic Society's pioneering founders.

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