Celebrating and promoting the best in UK prisons, probation and youth justice

JOY KEENAN (North West National Probation Service)

JOY KEENAN (North West National Probation Service)

AWARD WINNER 2020-21: Described as “inspirational”, “dedicated”, and “a wonderful colleague”, Joy receives an Award for her exceptional leadership, passion and vision as a Probation Manager in Liverpool, and in particular for her ground-breaking contributions to tackling knife crime and “County Lines” in the area.
[This Award is supported by Serco Justice Services.]

Andrea Bennett, Regional Probation Director NPS North West, sums up why Joy stands out, praising “her outstanding work in developing and implementing a knife crime programme that has been praised both locally and nationally, her work on developing the specialist county lines programme that is having a major impact in Merseyside on both perpetrators and victims, and over twenty years work in the Probation Service always going above and beyond.”

Andrea adds that “Joy is without doubt an inspirational woman,” as seen in the testimonials to her work below, and commends Joy “as an exceptional woman for her contribution to changing the lives of service users and protecting the public.”

Initial Nominator, Jan Marlow, Head of Cluster for Liverpool & Sefton, explains that Joy has worked across a range of Local Delivery Units and currently manages the Liverpool Integrated Offender Management Scheme (IOM). “Joy recognised that the true value of an IOM is the ‘buy in’ and commitment from partners,” says Jan. “She quickly made an impression in collaborating and forging closer links with police, courts, YOS, third sector agencies and mentoring services.”

Jan then details how Joy, “alongside the NW Lead for SOC, developed a risk register and intelligence-led model.  In order to respond to community safety priorities, Joy streamlined the cohort by targeting offenders involved in gun/gangs/weapons and serious violence. Joy’s approach is to look beyond the present and to seek innovative ways to work with a ‘hard to reach’ offender cohort. Always with an eye to up-and-coming developments; the team devised a knife crime programme MAASKC (Multi-Agency Approach to Knife Crime); an intervention attracting local and national attention.”

Joy led “on joining up the prison and community element”, adds Jan, “with the development of a specialised knife crime programme for custody and community; a much-needed resource given that 60% of knife crime in Merseyside is committed in Liverpool.” This programme is unique in its content and delivery style and explores the reasons why individuals carry and use knives, focussing on the personal, victim, social and legal consequences.

Joy went on to focus on developing “an extended, more focused County Lines (CL) programme, which aims to consider its impact from a perpetrator and victim perspective and has been allocated CL funding to include trauma informed counselling.” Without Joy’s “leadership and vision”, says Jan, “the interventions and continuing development would not exist… Joy strives to ensure the Liverpool IOM Scheme delivers excellence” and “is keen to share her knowledge and learning across the sector and partners, contributing to a book on gun & gang crime and hosting numerous visits from Ministers and other dignitaries.”

Jan concludes by saying that Joy “embodies HMPPS values in terms of her passion, integrity and total commitment to ensuring the community is safer.  Offenders are managed in a just and fair manner, balanced between rehabilitation, public protection and our service to victims. I have rarely worked with an NPS employee, who has the level of dedication to her job and the team she manages. She takes such pride in what she achieves and values her team and their contribution.”

Yvette Billington, Regional Business Manager, NPS North West and Butler Trust Local Champion shared an impressive array of testimonials. Inspector Maria Hoogendyk of Liverpool IOM and Merseyside Police says “Joy always has a smile on her face and is always looking to improve the team and the service. She is very well thought of by the Police and her peers who I know often call upon her for advice”, and praises “her resilience and commitment.”

Sergeant Peter Sprung, also of Liverpool IOM and Merseyside Police is impressed by the “dedication, knowledge, resilience and leadership of Joy Keenan”, calling her “a pleasure to work with.”  Meanwhile Nick Kayani, Acting Senior Operational Support Manager, says Joy “lives and breathes the role of leading Liverpool IOM” and calls her knowledge of gangs in the Merseyside “second to none”, adding that she “is inquisitive, tenacious and her staff have modelled this to create an outstanding operational unit.”

Colleague Jayne Phillips, Senior Probation Office and MAPPA Co-ordinator, says Joy “is such a wonderful colleague, supportive, hard working and always a good soundboard about anything risk related,” and someone who “tackles every challenge with good humour.” Another colleague, Pat Kimmance, Senior Probation Officer at Liverpool Crown Court, calls Joy “dedicated, approachable and quickly responsive.”

The Liverpool IOM Team were keen to collectively praise Joy, too: “an exceptional manager, her support, compassion, care and understanding for the whole of the team never waivers and this has been particularly evident during the very difficult time of Covid-19. As always, she supports her team 100% and works tirelessly to ensure that her team are managed to the very best of her ability.” They added that Joy “is extremely approachable and there is nothing you cannot go to her about – her grounded and calm approach with her staff, other agencies and offenders, alongside her open-door policy means that whether it be personal or professional she will always listen and provide support which is invaluable.”

Joy herself says she aimed to “dynamically respond to ever changing criminality in the Liverpool City Region, having public protection and victim safety at the forefront of the work that I do.” She adds a moving explanation of part of her motivation: “I developed the Weapons cohort following the death of Sam Cooke in Liverpool, who was stabbed and killed by an IOM Nominal. Due to the impact of the team in relation to this case, I wanted to be able to have a clear objective in how to reduce the knife crime offences within Liverpool, targeting and working with those nominals who fit the criteria.”

Her aim, she says, “is always to go above and beyond in the work that I do and in relation to the management of my team, I always try to develop opportunities to do this.”

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