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The unstoppable rise of people on MAPPA arrangements

There are now more people supervised under MAPPA arrangements than there are people in prison

The Ministry of Justice and the Office for National Statistics have published the annual report on Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements for 2021/22. Although MAPPA has only been in existence since 2003, there are now more people supervised under its arrangements than there are people in prison. On 31 March 2022, there were 89,438 offenders under MAPPA management in the community in England and Wales compared to 79,808 people in prison on the same date.

What is MAPPA?

First established in 2003, Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) are a set of statutory arrangements to assess and manage the risk posed by certain sexual and violent offenders. MAPPA bring together the Police, Probation and Prison Services into what is known as the MAPPA Responsible Authority for each MAPPA Area (using police force boundaries) to manage serious (mainly sexual and violent) offenders to minimise the risk they pose to the public.

A number of other agencies are under a duty to co-operate with the Responsible Authority. These include: Children’s Services, Adult Social Services, Health Trusts and Authorities, Youth Offending Teams, Home Office Immigration Enforcement, local housing authorities and certain registered social landlords, Jobcentre Plus, and electronic monitoring providers.

Offenders eligible for MAPPA are identified and information is gathered and shared about them across relevant agencies. The nature and level of the risk of harm they pose is assessed and a coordinated risk management plan is implemented to protect the public.

The period an offender remains a MAPPA offender varies significantly. Some will be MAPPA offenders for life and some for less than 6 months. The period will be dependent upon the offence committed and the sentence imposed.

There are three broad categories of offenders under MAPPA: Category 1 - Registered sexual offenders (RSO), Category 2 - Violent offenders and Category 3 - Other Dangerous Offenders. There are also three management levels which reflect the level of multi-agency co-operation required to implement the individual offender’s risk management plan effectively. Those offenders supervised on Level 1 are typically supervised by the police or probation service alone although these agencies will share information about them. The risk management plans for Level 2 offenders require the active involvement of several agencies via regular multi-agency public protection meetings which oversee the implementation of a coordinated risk management plan. For offenders managed at Level 3, the active involvement of several agencies is required; however, the risks presented by offenders managed at this level are such that senior staff from the agencies involved are required to authorise the use of additional resources, such as specialised accommodation.

Latest figures

Of 89,438 offenders under MAPPA management on 31 March this year, 66,741 (74.6%) were Category 1 offenders (Registered Sexual Offenders), 22,304 (24.9%) were Category 2 offenders (mainly violent offenders) and 393 (0.4%) were Category 3 offenders (other dangerous offenders).

The vast majority (88,050 or 98.4%) of these offenders were under Level 1 management, 1,213 (1.4%) were under Level 2 management, and 175 (0.2%) were under Level 3 management. These proportions have been consistent over the last six years.

The main reason for the continued  rise in the MAPPA population can be attributed to the large numbers of people being convicted of sexual offences and the requirement for many of those convicted to register for long periods of time. The number of people convicted of sexual offences increased in the latest year, partially offsetting the decrease in the previous year when court activity was reduced during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the average annual increase in the Category 1 population over the last four years is lower than it was before 2017/18, partly due to fewer people being convicted of sexual offences between 2018 and 2021 and more people coming off of notification requirements

There was also an increase in the number of people convicted of violence against the person between March 2012 and March 2022. The average custodial sentence length for violence against the person has remained stable at just under two years, which means the increase in convictions over the last three years will have an impact on the number of Category 2 offenders. In contrast, the number of people convicted of robbery has fallen significantly and average sentence length for robbery has increased in recent years, which means that although there are fewer of them they are staying under probation supervision for longer.


Finally, these statistics show that the recall of MAPPA cases is adding to our prison population. 874 people managed on Levels 2 and 3 were recalled to prison last year, 11% up on the year before and the fourth successive annual increase.

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