Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles is today (Monday) launching a countywide consultation to gauge the public’s views on a criminal justice resolution which gives victims a greater say in how anti-social behaviour and low level crime is dealt with.
The recently enacted Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act places a statutory duty on the Commissioner to develop a Community Remedy Document which sets out how public protection partners will deliver elements of restorative justice across the county and which offences or situations qualify for this style of approach. Community Remedy is a way of delivering justice without involving court action and concentrates on rehabilitating offenders who have committed low-level offences by reconciling them with the victim of their crimes so that they might understand the impact of their offending.
Victims can ask questions directly to the offender receive an apology or have any damage repaired, which can speed up the recovery process and provide them with necessary closure. There is also some evidence to suggest that this approach prompts positive behavioural changes in the offender in the long-term which can significantly reduce demand on police resources.
The Community Remedy Document will provide police and criminal justice partners with a variety of options when dealing with anti-social behaviour and low-level crime but Commissioner Charles is very keen to gain public feedback on the issue before the document is confirmed and has launched an online survey on the issue.
The questionnaire, which will also be available to complete at various policing events in the coming weeks, asks residents to highlight their top three preferred community remedies from a list which includes mediation, face-to-face apology, diversionary activities including courses and training, rehabilitation such as anger management and agreement to pay for repair work to any damage caused as a result of their actions. During the consultation, Commissioner Charles will also consult with local authority leads over the approach.
As part of work to improve the police and local authority response to low-level crime and anti-social behaviour, Commissioner Charles is working closely with safety partners to develop a Community Trigger which is a mechanism by which local people can call upon their local authority to deal with persistent anti-social behaviour and will place a new duty on agencies to respond with action. Work is currently underway to establish a suitable trigger threshold to prompt such action and the processes involved but the aim behind the new legislation is to provide additional accountability to ensure agencies work in partnership to meet the needs of victims.
Commenting on the survey launch, Commissioner Charles said: “It is becoming increasingly clear that enforcement doesn’t always deliver the long-term results we want for our communities and merely provides a temporary lull in criminal activity before offending recommences. In cases where police are dealing with persistent and prolific anti-social behaviour offenders we need a system which magnifies the reality of their behaviour and provides them with a deeper understanding of the effect on their victims.
“Research shows this is a good way of breaking negative patterns of behaviour and also assists the victim’s recovery, which is of primary concern. I want to utilise this approach to achieve the maximum benefits for victims, communities and offenders and I’m very keen to hear from the public how this can be best achieved.
“We are making positive changes to provide residents and victims with a more satisfactory policing experience. The launch of a Community Trigger will form part of this by providing victims and communities with the right to demand that persistent anti-social behaviour is dealt with.”
Following the completion of the consultation, Commissioner Charles will agree a final version of the Community Remedy Document with the Chief Constable before publishing it on the website.
The survey can be found here
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Monday 19th May 2014