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Fiona Simmons April 26, 2023 4 min read
The Howard League’s CCGRH Published Its Final Report
The Howard League provided a number of proposals, urging action and better understanding on the links between problem gambling and crime
The Commission on Crime and Gambling Related Harms (CCGRH), a part of the Howard League for Penal Reform, has published its final report on the links between crime and gambling.
Following the publication, the commission asked the government, health bodies and criminal justice agencies to be mindful of the discoveries and adopt a strategic approach when dealing with gambling-related crimes.
The report calls for greater central drive from the Home Office and Ministry of Justice, in addition to more funding for treatment. The development of support infrastructure in police stations, courts and prisons, meanwhile, would reduce crime while making services more accessible.
The commission also proposed the creation of a national board to address gambling-related crimes would. The board, according to the body, should include senior law enforcers, prosecutors, legal experts, prison workers, public health experts and victims’ advocates. The commission also advocated for the representation of lived experiences individuals.
The Commission on Crime and Gambling Related Harms publishes its report as the Gambling Act reforms white paper looms. According to the CCGRH, it is important to tackle gambling harm and crime at a political and strategic level and at operational policy and professional stakeholder level.
The commission noted that the “apparent absence of scrutiny” on the government’s side has left the pleas for reforms unanswered.
The Commission Published a List of Proposals
The CCGRH, which was founded in 2019, discovered that in the 25 years prior to its creation, fewer than 50 peer-researched papers were produced on the links between gambling harm and crime. Because of that, the commission began working hard on better understanding the topic.
Leveraging its experience, the CCGRH defined the following priorities:
- Developing a strategic approach to gambling-related crime
- Enhancing the role of criminal justice agencies
- Integrating gambling-related crime into broader government action on gambling harms
- Commissioning further research
Responding to these priorities, the commission has made recommendations, such as calling for better screening and assessment and a mandatory requirement that when gambling harms or addictions are identified, pre-sentence reports are to be compiled. The latter proposal will make it easier to decide on appropriate sentencing and/or treatment.
The CCGRH also provided recommendations to the Ministry of Justice, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Sentencing Council, The Judicial College and His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service. According to the commission, the creation of a joint parliamentary select committee would help to scrutinize cross-government action on gambling-related harms and its relation to crime.
The CCGRH also opposed the careless confiscation of assets as it may sometimes ruin the lives of innocent families. The confiscations outlined in the Proceeds of Crime Act should be reviewed carefully by the Home Office and the UKGC.
The commission is firm that lived experience individuals’ voices should be taken in mind when guidance, training and support are developed.
Goldsmith Urges Action
Lord Goldsmith KC, chairman of the CCGRH, commented on the matter, saying that the gambling-prompted crime rates are concerning. What’s even more concerning is that the cases that reach the news are not the full picture, he pointed out.
Although gambling-related harms have links to a diverse range of offenses, this is not yet well recognized by the government and reliable estimates of prevalence remain elusive.Lord Goldsmith KC, chairman of the CCGRH
Goldsmith noted that many witnesses that gave evidence to the CCGRH demonstrated a lack of understanding and support for the people affected at the various stages of the criminal justice system.
Luckily, there are now many initiatives that show promise, Goldsmith said. He noted that there is a growing understanding that gambling harm can be linked with substance misuse and/or poor mental health.
It is time for action. Our recommendations point the way ahead for politicians, policymakers and everyone working to prevent crime.Lord Goldsmith KC, chairman of the CCGRH
Last year, another Howard League report showed that many police workers fail to recognize the connection between gambling addiction and crime.