Cleveland Police officers and staff and Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger, are backing International Restorative Justice Week to encourage victims and perpetrators to come together to find a positive way forward. International Restorative Justice Week begins today, Monday 17th November, and ends on Monday 24th November.
It is a tool used by police and partners to take into account the victim’s needs and involves them in discussions around what form of reparation would be suitable following a crime, antisocial behaviour or ‘harm’ to the wider community. For low level offences, this could be things such as removing graffiti the offender has written or repairing damage they have caused. For higher level offences, restorative justice can be coupled with other sanctions.
Restorative Justice has been used successfully across the Force since April 2013 for those under 18, and the scheme was more recently extended to adults who are first time, low-level offenders, in April 2014.
Since April 2013, 834 offences involving those under 18 have been dealt with using restorative justice and since April this year 216 offences involving adults have been dealt with using restorative justice.
Partners across Cleveland are also using the approach for higher level offences and work is on-going with the PCC’s new commissioning responsibilities to develop a service which is consistent across the whole of the Cleveland area.
Inspector Glen Ward said: "Restorative justice has been widely tested and proven to show offenders the real impact of their crime and plays a vital role in reassuring victims, addressing offender behaviour and preventing further harm.
"Working alongside our partners, we want to make victims aware of the choice that they have with regards to restorative justice and ensure that victims get answers to their questions. We also want to give offenders the opportunity to change their behaviour.
"National research has shown that 85% of victims are satisfied or very satisfied with restorative justice."
Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger, said: "I have supported restorative justice since its introduction to the Force and I am pleased to see that it has been used widely across Cleveland.
"By using restorative justice we give victims the chance to be at the heart of any decision which is made about offenders. Those who have been involved in the initiative have shared their stories of how restorative justice has affected their lives in a positive way.
"The co-ordination of restorative justice across Cleveland together with partners will hopefully further raise awareness of what is available for victims in order to assist them in coping and recovering from the harm caused."
Posted on Monday 17th November 2014