A SCHEME in Bradford run by volunteers who dedicate hundreds of hours to help victims of crime has been shortlisted for a national award.
The Neighbourhood Resolutions Panel Project , which led the way for similar projects across the county, is in the ‘Restorative Justice’ category at The Howard League for Penal Reform Community Programmes Awards.
Neighbourhood Resolution Panels (NRP) bring together victims, the person who has harmed them and the community to tackle issues that might otherwise have received no further action - including low-level crime, neighbourhood nuisance and anti-social behaviour.
Those working together include the police, Bradford Council, social housing groups such as Incommunities, and the West Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company.
The project has a 90 per cent victim satisfaction rate and up to 97 per cent of those who have been through the process have not reoffended or had further calls for service.
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson, was so impressed with the Bradford project - the first pilot of its kind when it started in 2012 - that he has commissioned NRP panels in each district.
He said: “I am delighted that the importance of Neighbourhood Resolution Panels and the excellent work in Bradford has been recognised in this way.
“Victims must come first, as the new Victims Code recognizes, and in any situation where the person who has done wrong is able to put right their actions, it must be the victim who is comfortable and receives the proper assurance that justice has been done.
“I have allocated funding so that a Restorative Justice Hub can be developed in Bradford to continue this essential work and we must not underestimate the contribution made by hardworking volunteers in ensuring communities are safe and feel safe.”
The deputy leader of Bradford Council, Councillor Imran Hussain, who is also the portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities, added: "We have seen the positive results of this work in our district and it is clear these schemes are making a real difference to people's lives.
"Victims feel like something is being done to help them which also benefits their communities while offenders, in many cases, are turning away from crime."
Catryn Yousefi, the programme manager at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Our nominated projects are shining beacons of effective practice and all show that community sentences can work, involve the community and change lives.”
The Princess Royal will announce the winners at the charity’s national conference on July 15 in London.