From next week, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) will be teaming up with their Road Safety partners to run a one week course to educate prisoners on road safety awareness.

The course will include topics such as vehicle crime, road traffic collision (RTC) causation factors and the consequences of irresponsible driving. It will also give an insight into the process of applying for a driving licence and passing the theory/hazard perception test.

SWFRS is running the course in partnership with Cardiff Council, South Wales Police and HMP Cardiff resettlement department. The course itself is disseminated to young people (age 17 - 25 years) at HMP Cardiff who have all been convicted of vehicle crime. The week long course will use educational tools such as true life stories, DVDs and discussions. As well as this, they will use a SWFRS modified Ford Focus which is used as an engagement tool where the hazard perception test will be taken from a screen in the boot of the vehicle.

Martin Henderson, Head of Risk Reduction, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said; "We aim to reduce the likelihood of these young people reoffending by educating them and building their awareness about the consequences of their actions. This enables them to move forward in their lives with the aim of making more positive choices. This is a programme which has never before run in HMP Cardiff before; therefore we will be monitoring the young people's attitude and behaviour change from the beginning to end of the course.

"The purpose of this course is to equip the young people of a broader understanding of their role within their community in regards to keeping safe and building respect. In turn, this will feed into the building of their self-esteem as they take into account the impact of their previous actions. After that they will work towards a positive future plan."

Senior Officer Dave Raisbeck from HMP Cardiff resettlement department said; "This is a multi-functional unit that likes to be at the fore front of resettlement, and as such we are always looking at new ways of helping criminals rehabilitate and resettle back into their various communities with the skills required to assist them. We currently run several accredited offending behaviour programmes that address their substance mis-use and the way they think, to ensure they realise the consequences of their actions before they act.

"The Ministry of Justice recently produced a 'Green Paper' called 'Breaking the Cycle' which looks at effective punishment and rehabilitation. This prompted me to look at the 'interventions directory' for the whole prison service and realised that there is a gap at tackling driving related offences which I think we could 'Pilot' and fill for South Wales. I would like to introduce a 'Road Safety Awareness' course at Cardiff as a joint collaboration with South Wales Fire Service and Cardiff City Council to address the need of 10% of their prisoners being convicted for a driving-related crime." 

To find out more about the road safety awareness programme visit

Posted on 13/07/2012 by Tom Lawson