The results of a survey by Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold showed overwhelming support for the options within the community remedy, a scheme that gives victims a say in the out-of-court punishments for people who commit low-level offences.
The community remedy was introduced across the country in 2014 to provide a speedy and effective way to resolve low-level crime and anti-social behaviour. It offers different options for the offender to make amends to the victim of a crime or incident, or to deal with the behaviour that led them to commit an offence.
The Police Fire and Crime Commissioner asked for views on the scheme and any other options available to deal with low-level offences. As a result:
91% of people who responded to our survey on the Community Remedy agreed that reparative justice was a good way of dealing with low level crime – “both the offender and the victim can start afresh after they fix the damage”
53% of people agreed that restorative justice should be an option – “Very positive that the victim receives an apology and has chance to tell the offender how the offender’s actions affected them.”
81% of people supported rehabilitation to help offenders receive treatment for their offending behaviour “Drugs and alcohol are a huge problem with crime. They need help to start a new crime free life”
Responding to the survey, people said that a range of options are needed to suit the needs of the victim and the circumstances of the incident.
From March 2019, the range of options available for the Community Remedy in Northamptonshire will be:
- Reparative– providing the victim with financial compensation to repair or replace the damage, or the offender repairing damage (e.g. cleaning of graffiti or repairing a fence panel) or undertaking unpaid work at a venue agreed with the victim.
- Restorative– e.g. the offender to provide the victim with a letter of apology. To have a face to face meeting hosted by an independent facilitator, between the victim and offender, where the offender has agreed to apologise, and the victim is able to discuss the impact it has had on them.
- Rehabilitative – For the offender to agree to undergo a rehabilitative course e.g. to address alcohol or drug issues, typically the offender would pay to attend this course, or to receive support with specific mental health needs.
- Behaviour Contracts (for anti-social behaviour only) is a voluntary agreement between the person who is behaving antisocially and any other relevant people (for example, the police, the council or social workers).
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner will work with the Force to make sure that a wide range of options are available under each heading and that officers work with the victim in each case to find a solution that suits them best. One of the options being further developed during 2019 is a victim awareness course that helps offenders to understand the impact of their behaviour.
You can read more in the full report: here