RESIDENTS and community groups across Cleveland are being asked to suggest ways people on probation can help make a difference in their communities.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Cleveland in partnership with Probation North East is looking for projects, in which people on probation can undertake unpaid work as part of Community Payback.
Community Payback delivers projects to allow people on probation to pay the community back for their crimes.
Projects may include painting a community centre/public property or clearing wasteland.
Previously, people on probation have cleared Teesville and Thornaby allotments, bringing them back into productive, community use.
The project, which started during lockdown in late 2020, saw people on probation building paths and planters. They also set up polytunnels and secured the site with fencing.
Up to eight participants and a supervisor work at each site per day. They grow seedings in polytunnels and later transfer them to planters.
Root vegetables onions, cabbage, lettuce and courgettes grown by the team were harvested in Autumn 2021. They were donated to local food banks to benefit the community.
Community Payback can form part of a community sentence after individuals have committed certain, low-level crimes such as public order offences, theft and dishonesty.
In addition to benefitting the community, the work can also have a positive impact on the people on probation carrying out the work. Community Payback can give their lives’ structure and give them a sense of value.
Cleveland OPCC is already working with partners in Hemlington to pinpoint suitable projects to benefit the community and help people on probation give something back to society.
Part of a 10-point plan
As part of Cleveland Police and Crime Plan, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Steve Turner has included a 10-point plan. It outlines his key priorities for his time in office. One of those priorities is Bringing Offenders to Justice.
As part of that priority, Steve wants to “see visible and worthwhile work undertaken in the community that directly benefits the people living there and repairs the harm caused.”
He said: “It’s important that community sentences are not seen as a soft option.
“I want the work carried out by people on probation to be meaningful. I also want it to benefit the community and bring the people who are carrying it out face-to-face with some of the damage caused by crime, anti-social behaviour and vandalism.”
Chris Douglas, Head of Unpaid Work at Probation North East, said: “We look forward to hearing from the community and looking at the kind of projects which they would like to see people on probation carry out.
“In order for us to approve projects, they must hit certain criteria – and they must provide meaningful activity for those carrying it out.
“Community Payback is frequently used as part of Community Sentencing so it must allow people on probation to reflect on what they have done and want them to help make amends to the wider community for the harm caused by crime and antisocial behaviour.”
To nominate a Community Payback project, send details to: firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about how you can nominate a Community Payback project go to: Community Payback Project – Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner (pcc.police.uk)