Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Grove is asking the public for their views on how offenders who commit less serious crimes should make amends to society.
Humberside has been a leading light in Restorative Justice, where victims of offences such as anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and some thefts get a say in how the perpetrator should be punished. Research has shown most victims are satisfied with this type of justice and offenders, usually those who have never been in trouble with the police before, are made more aware of the consequences of their behaviour and do not go on to commit further offences.
These Community Remedies can include:
Meeting or writing to the victim, hearing how the crime has affected them and apologising.
Paying for damage to be repaired or stolen property to be replaced.
Repairing damage to property or cleaning graffiti.
Doing local unpaid work such as picking up litter.
Matthew said: “I want to give victims of crime a greater say in the punishment and rehabilitation of offenders. Community Remedy is about giving victims a choice in what happens to the person who committed an offence against them.
For a less serious crime, for example anti-social behaviour or criminal damage the victim will be given the chance to have their say on the punishment that should be given from a list of actions, and they will be able to choose which they feel is the most appropriate for the perpetrator to carry out as a consequence of their behaviour.
Community Remedy is aimed primarily at first time offenders. It is hoped that making them more responsible for the consequences of their actions will make them think twice about the effect it will have on their future before committing further offences. The alternative may be a police caution, which would give them a criminal record and could affect their future chances of employment for years to come.
If they choose to ignore the chance they have been given and go on to commit further crimes, they may be liable to a more formal sanction through the criminal justice system.
Community Remedy is not a ‘soft option’ and court will always be the right place for serious and persistent offenders.”
Members of the public can give their opinions on Community Remedy by taking the quick survey on Matthew Grove’s website www.humberside-pcc.gov.uk
The use of restorative justice has to meet certain criteria.
Police must have evidence the offender has engaged in antisocial behaviour or has committed an offence and believe the evidence is enough for court action or to impose a caution.
The perpetrator must also admit to the behaviour or offence.
Both the victim and the offender must agree to the process taking place and the police must agree that any chosen penalty is proportionate.