March 15, 2021. News

Thames Valley VRU and University of Oxford to deliver first UK validation of violent re-offending risk assessment tool

Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) is collaborating with the University of Oxford, a world leader in crime science, as it undertakes a study to validate a tool used to assess the risk of violent offenders re-offending.

OxREC is a risk assessment tool which has already been validated for use in Sweden and the Netherlands.  By assessing a range of data sources, the model aims to identify the risk of an offender reoffending at the point of release from prison, or those who have been recently released. 

The model could provide a further evidence-based approach to offender management. The study will test the ability to forecast re-offending, and in particular the committing of violent crime, within one year and two years after release from UK prisons within the Thames Valley region.

The outputs from using the model can then help to inform the wider professional decision-making process for managing individual offenders, helping to identify the need, and the right points, for improved support, diversion or risk management. 

The tool has never been validated here in the UK as it relies upon the collation of a range of partner agency data.  

Thames Valley VRU is leading Thames Valley Together, a data management project which integrates over 120 live data feeds from agencies across policing, criminal justice, education, health, social care and other sources. This innovative approach to gathering population-level data from multiple sources will be used to help target violence reduction activities in the Thames Valley. 

Through this new collaboration with the researchers of University of Oxford, this rich data set is helping to test the OxRec tool, with the aim to validate it as an accurate tool.

There are no plans at this stage to put the tool into operational use, but the validation study is the first step to assess its accuracy and use in the UK setting.

Professor Seena Fazel of University of Oxford will be lead the research team and the the study is due to complete in March 2022, with the full model and results to be published.

Further information available on the national College of Policing research map.