A satisfaction survey of victims who have taken part in the restorative justice process in Derbyshire is to be conducted in the county this year, Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles’ has revealed.
Chief Constable Mick Creedon delivered a report to the Commissioner’s Strategic Governance Board on restorative justice outlining how the process is delivered in the county. His report demonstrated to the Commissioner and to the Derbyshire public how the Constabulary ensures proportionate and effective use of this sanction process.
Restorative processes are designed to enable everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward. Community resolutions, of which restorative justice can be a part, are used to deal with low level crime and antisocial behaviour.
The meeting heard details of actions taken in response to issues raised at the RJ Scrutiny Panel. These include changes following the Panel’s call for specific restoration relating to the Hate element of the crime. The force, in conjunction with the Multi-Faith Centre at The University of Derby is in the process of developing a Hate Crime Diversion course aimed at addressing behaviour and beliefs which lead to Hate Crime.
During 2015, a pilot programme will begin to deal with offenders who receive an RJ Disposal for Hate Crime Offences. Work is also underway to ensure that offenders involved in alcohol-related offences are referred to support services to deal with alcohol issues. An alcohol referral scheme is currently being piloted for RJ offenders in Derby City and will be reviewed this month.
Alan Charles said: “Community Remedy provides appropriate responses for minor crimes, including reparation for the victim and a punishment for the offender. For example, if a garden fence is vandalised the victim has the choice whether to ask the police to pursue the matter through the criminal justice route, or whether they would prefer the offender to repair the damage.
“In our experience the vast majority of victims simply want the situation put right, and this route also prevents individuals having a criminal record for a very minor offence, while doing something to repair the harm they have done.”
The Chief Constable’s Report explained that a ‘traffic light’ system of red, amber and green has recently been changed to ensure offenders directed towards RJ are suitable for the process. This includes a policy change that only domestic violence-related offences not involving current or previous intimate partners can be dealt with by way of RJ.
The meeting was also told that a Chief Constable’s Order has been published to ensure that staff have a clear understanding of the standards to be applied for the use of community resolutions. Staff have been reminded of the “absolute need” to record the wishes of the victim and agree a meaningful process with full details of the RJ outcome being recorded on the Crime Report.
Since the introduction of the Community Remedy process in October 2014, the force has completed around 440 disposals.
Assistant Chief Constable Gary Knighton added: “Restorative Justice has evolved significantly since it was introduced in Derbyshire in 2009. It empowers victims by allowing them to decide which outcome best suits them following a crime. But it’s important that we return to victims at a later date to make sure they were happy with the way the offence was dealt with and that’s why we are conducting this survey. The views we obtain will be used to shape Restorative Justice in the future.”
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Posted on Tuesday 10th February 2015