THE WEST Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner is urging businesses to hire ex-offenders.
Simon Foster said giving people the responsibility to work after serving time in prison is an important way of breaking the cycle of crime and plug gaps in the jobs market.
Those with a criminal record are known to struggle to get a job as many employers won’t take them on.
But Mr Foster, who has prioritised the prevention of crime and rehabilitation in his Police and Crime Plan, is hoping he can influence organisations and show them the value ex-offenders can offer.
One of the companies presenting at the PCC’s Business Crime Summit is retailer Timpson – one of the largest employers of ex-offenders in the UK, with around 12 per cent of its staff having a criminal record.
The PCC is intending to use the event to illustrate to other firms just how valuable people who have been given a second chance in life can be to an organisation.
The companies attending the Business Crime Summit will all be asked to help design and sign up to the PCC’s Second Chances Charter – an agreement with businesses to employ ex-offenders.
Darren Burns, the national recruitment ambassador at Timpson will be speaking at the summit about how the company has placed ex-offenders at the heart of the business.
He said: “As a business Timpson believes that everyone deserves a second chance.
“That’s why we’ve given 1000s of people the opportunity to put their past behind them and focus instead on what they can achieve in the future.
“Employment can help reduce re-offending, but it’s also good for business, as our staff are often more loyal and even more honest than those who join us from more usual recruitment streams.”
Mr Foster added: “If we are to break the cycle of crime, and ensure people have the opportunity to make a positive contribution to society and start paying taxes, then we need to enable them to find a job and help them to be net contributors to society.
“I’m delighted so many firms have agreed to take part in the summit.
“My intention is to convince as many of them as possible that people with a criminal record can make great employees and need a second chance.”