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Crime office secures funding for ‘neighbourhood justice’ scheme

May 22, 2013

STAFFORDSHIRE’S Office of Police and Crime Commissioner has agreed funding for a crucial role that helps bring offenders face-to-face with their victims.

The decision means that a Neighbourhood Justice Panel co-ordinator for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, employed by the Victim Support charity, will be financed for another year.

Facilitated by volunteers, Neighbourhood Justice Panels give victims an opportunity to tell offenders the real impact of their crimes, get answers to their questions and an apology.

They also give offenders the chance to understand the real impact of their actions.

Panels deal with a variety of offences not serious enough to prosecute through the courts, or where cautions and fixed penalty notices are inappropriate. These include criminal damage and anti-social behaviour.

Victims decide if an offence is referred to a panel, which then takes place if the offender also wants to attend – in order to put things right.

Offenders are then asked a number of questions about the offence they committed before the victim is given the chance to talk about how the crime has affected them. A solution is then mutually agreed between the victim and the offender.

I’m delighted the scheme is continuing. This funding demonstrates our commitment to support victims, make offenders take personal responsibility and face-up to their unacceptable behaviour.

Often the best way to repair harm and prevent more problems is for people to meet and work through what’s happened.

Neighbourhood Justice Panels deliver this in a structured way. They are not a soft option – they make the offender face-up to the impact of what they have done.

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