Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Steve Turner wants to know how the public would like offenders to make amends to the community for their crimes.
Steve launched a public consultation on Community Remedy across Cleveland today.
Community Remedy is a way for the public to say how they want offenders committing lower-level crime to make amends. Community Remedies are out-of-court sentencing options, which take place in the community.
They were originally introduced as part of the Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB), Crime and Policing Act 2014. Community Remedies aim to give communities more tools to deal with antisocial behaviour and its impact.
The new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 came into force on 14 November 2022. It strengthened the case for using community sentencing for lower-level offences.
The new law and codes of practice also bring in tougher sentencing and greater police powers. They will deal with more serious crimes and disorder.
Examples of Community Remedy
Police only use Community Remedies if they consider that it is appropriate to take this course of action. They may include the following:
- Restorative Justice. An opportunity to bring victims and offenders together, in a safe, supported way. It allows them to talk about the damage caused by the crime and look at how the offender can make amends,
- Verbal or written apology to the victim
- Signing an Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC.) The chance for the offender to make a positive change by agreeing to certain conditions or actions. For example, they may agree to take part in an education programme. Or they may agree not to go to a particular area, where they would come into contact with the victim or factors, which could trigger re-offending.
- Referral to a local rehabilitative, educational or diversionary activity. They aim to support improvements in the offender’s behaviour via community-based support
- Personal/Community Reparation. This may include repairing or paying for damage caused in an incident. For example, an offender may repair or paint a fence damaged during an incident of criminal or antisocial behaviour
- Other potential remedies to be suggested by the public. They may include mediation to resolve long-running disputes between individuals.
Steve is also asking the public if an offender should pay for any courses or treatment they are asked to do.
Greater say for victims
He said: “Community Remedy is a way to give victims a much greater say when it comes to deciding what should happen to their offender.
“Victims often have little or no say on what happens to a perpetrator when they are handed over to the criminal justice system.
“Community Remedy not only gives victims more control over what happens during sentencing. It also helps to address some of the damage caused to the individual, their friends, family and the wider community by the offending.
“It also allows the police, courts and justice system to focus on the most serious offences – and offenders – in our communities.”
Community Remedy is seen as a way to avoid criminalising individuals and to give police more flexibility in the way they deal with antisocial behaviour and lower-level crimes.
When considering using Community Remedy, a police officer will discuss the situation with the victim to help come up with the best solution.
Key Priority for Cleveland Police
Paul Waugh, Assistant Chief Constable of Cleveland Police, said: “It is a key priority for Cleveland Police to put victims first.
“We want to ensure that those who have suffered as a result of criminal behaviour, can have their voices heard within the justice system.
“Community Remedy can be a good way to resolve matters relating to low level criminal behaviour to the satisfaction of victims of crime.
“There is a focus on rehabilitation and steering young people and first-time offenders away from criminal activity.
“It is also an effective method of showing criminals the impact of their behaviour on victims and to deter any future repeat offending.
“Whilst it can be extremely effective, it is important to remember that Community Remedy is an option given to victims. It is only used in appropriate circumstances, and is not suitable as an outcome to more serious crime.”
To take the survey, go to:
The survey closes on Monday 27 February 2023.