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New justice schemes are launched in district
Two schemes which help tackle anti-social behaviour and low-level crime by encouraging offenders to talk to their victims about the consequences of their actions were officially launched in Bradford yesterday.
Neighbourhood Resolution Panels and Restorative Justice Clinics were launched together to highlight how the district is successfully leading the way with restorative justice solutions.
The resolution panels will be used for minor crimes and anti-social behaviour and volunteers have recently been trained to take part in a panel which will see the offender discuss their actions.
The restorative justice clinics have been running across the district for six months and are used for young offenders under 18. Young people can be referred to a clinic as an alternative to the criminal justice system or if they are at risk of receiving an anti-social behaviour order.
Participants are helped to improve their behaviour and make amends for their actions, such as through voluntary work in the community and, where possible, talking to the victim.
The schemes were launched by Bradford Community Safety Partnership, which includes Bradford Council, West Yorkshire Police, NHS, West Yorkshire Probation and voluntary and private sector organisations, at City Hall. So far there have been 80 successful youth restorative disposals completed, 21 face-to-face restorative justice clinics with victim involvement, 48 clinics with indirect victim input. Victims have been contacted in every case.
Steve Hartley, the Council’s assistant director for neighbourhood services, told the gathering: “In Bradford we actually handle anti-social behaviour issues extremely well, but we have always felt that we needed a little bit more.
“What these schemes bring are three particular things – partnership, involvement and early intervention.”
Divisional commander for Bradford South Police, Chief Superintendent Simon Atkin, said Bradford was taking the lead.
“To me it seems really straightforward – it’s common sense and morally seems to be the right thing,” he said.