Community Remedy

Community Remedy

What is the Community Remedy?

Implemented by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Gwent, Ian Johnston, the Community Remedy is intended to give victims more of a say in the punishment of offenders out of court. It provides a list of the out-of-court punishment options which can be presented to a victim by a Police Officer so they can choose how an offender can be dealt with when they commit low level a minor crime or anti-social behaviour.

How was the Community Remedy formulated?

To formulate the Community Remedy, the PCC fielded a consultation between July 1st and 31st 2014 on the options available. The consultation gathered the opinions of policing and criminal justice stakeholders and the public. Nearly 1,000 people completed the consultation in Gwent.

What are the lists of options available in the Community Remedy?

Based on the Community Remedy consultation findings and recommendations, the PCC and the Chief Constable have now developed and agreed a menu of specific sanctions which officers can implement within the Community Remedy process. The following FOUR options will now be available for all Police Officers in Gwent to use from October 20th in cases of antisocial behaviour and low-level crime:

1. Reparation to damage caused e.g. repairing damage to property, cleaning graffiti, returning stolen property

2. Paying for the damage caused to be repaired or for the property stolen to be replaced

3. A verbal or written apology

4. A Restorative Justice Conference which allows victims and offenders to put their views to each other without meeting face to face.

How will the Community Remedy Work?

Gwent Police will use community remedies for incidents of low level crimes and antisocial behaviours that are dealt with out of court - either as part of an informal community resolution or a more formal conditional caution. It will mean that victims get justice quickly and the offender has to face the consequences of their actions.

The Community Remedy options will be presented to a victim and they will be asked to indicate a preference for how the offender could be dealt with. The types of offences appropriate for a Community Remedy include low-level criminal damage, low value theft, and minor assaults (without injury) and anti-social behaviour. Each of the actions available on the menu must have a punitive, restorative or rehabilitative aspect (or a combination of these). A community remedy will not affect a person's Criminal Record Bureau check except for an enhanced check, or as part of a youth or adult conditional caution.

So, what are the rules?

  • The remedy is aimed at first time offenders but the list of options can also be applied as part of a youth or adult conditional caution.

  • The offender must have admitted committing the offence and the victim must have requested an out of court resolution.

  • The offender has to sign an agreement. The fulfilment of the action itself is not legally enforceable unless it is part of a youth or adult conditional caution.

  • The victim must have indicated to the Police Officer dealing with the case that they do not want formal action taken against the offender, as the remedy is an alternative to formal court action.

  • If a victim is under 18 or vulnerable they may require a family member or carer to help assist them in choosing an action from the menu.

  • In incidents where the victim is not contactable or where it cannot be ascertained who the victim is (e.g. public graffiti), the police officer will act in the interest of the victim and choose an appropriate punishment.

  • The option/s chosen must have a positive effect on the offender and be aimed at reducing re-offending and be appropriate and proportionate to the offence committed.

  • The Police Officer will have the final decision to ensure the remedy is proportionate to the incident.

What are the benefits?

  • The community remedy provides victims with more of a say in the punishment of offenders out of court.

  • It allows for swift justice to be delivered and for first time low level offending to be nipped in the bud.

  • Locally, justice can be seen to be done which is likely to inform public confidence.