The Police and Crime Commissioner is urging firms in the West Midlands to employ more people with a criminal record.

David Jamieson wants companies and public sector organisations to reach out and give a second chance to those who have potentially served time behind bars.

He believes if crime is to be cut and taxpayers money saved then individuals with a chequered past must be offered a chance to rehabilitate into society. One of the best ways for them to do that is to find work.  

If reoffending could be reduced then it would save taxpayers in the region millions of pounds in policing, prison and legal costs.

What’s more, the PCC says employers are missing out on a big pool of untapped talent.

The Commissioner is so passionate about the issue that he is making it a theme at his upcoming Business Summit (16th Jan) and believes it is one of the ways rising crime levels can be tackled.

According to the Office for National Statistics around 29% of people who have been released from custody, received a non-custodial conviction or were handed a caution go on to reoffend.

However, a government study in 2013 found that offenders who landed a job within a year of being released from prison were up to 10 percent less likely to reoffend than criminals who were unemployed for that time.

One company, which is a trailblazer in this area, is RMF Construction, based in the West Midlands. The firm was set up nearly four years ago and helps train people with a conviction to work in the construction sector.

It has so far trained more than 200 people at all levels of the construction industry and proudly watched them go on to get jobs in the sector.

RMF Construction also trains inmates in prisons so they can acquire the skills they’ll need to get a job once they have served their time.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, said: “Whilst it is paramount that criminals are caught and justice is done, we must keep pushing to break the cycle of crime.

“We know that if an individual can find work then they are much less likely to reoffend.

“I want to see 100s of organisations start doing what RMF Construction does already and employ people with a criminal record.

“Organisations should think seriously about the untapped potential of employing people who are desperate to turn their life around and make amends for the poor decisions they’ve made in the past.
“What’s more, we all have a responsibility to help lower crime levels and this is a really good, practical way we can do that.”

RMF Construction’s Operations Manager, Dara McCarthy, said: “As a firm we have employed more than 200 people with a criminal record and trained many more within prisons so they are equipped to apply for jobs in the construction sector when they are released.

“I know how hard it is for these people to find work after they leave prison. Many of them feel they have repaid their debt to society and all they want is to get their life back on track.

“The problem is few employers are prepared to give them a chance.

“RMF Construction hopefully goes some way to helping these individuals find work and stay out of a cell.”

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