Victims have more of a say in the Punishment of Offenders
In line with new legislation and effective from October 20th 2014, the new Community Remedy, announced by Gwent PCC Ian Johnston today, will provide victims with more of a say in the out-of-court punishment of offenders.
The new Community Remedy 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 and minor crimes or anti-social behaviour. 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.
Gwent Police Officers will use community remedies 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 offender must have admitted committing the offence and the victim must have requested an out of court resolution, however the Police will have the final decision to ensure the remedy is proportionate to the incident.
The options were formulated following a consultation fielded by PCC Ian Johnston in July 2014 which involved those in policing, criminal justice stakeholders and the public. Nearly 1,000 people completed the consultation and a total of four options have now been agreed by Mr Johnston and the Chief Constable of Gwent Police.
The options agreed are:
- Reparation to damage caused e.g. repairing damage to property, cleaning graffiti, returning stolen property;
- Paying for the damage caused to be repaired or for the property stolen to be replaced;
- A verbal or written apology;
- Or a restorative approach which allows victims and offenders to put their views to each other without meeting face to face
The new measures mean that the police now have a faster and more flexible toolkit to deal with low level crime and disorder.
Highlighting the importance of the new Community Remedy, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Ian Johnston, said: "If not dealt with appropriately, incidents of anti- social behaviour and low level crime can escalate to potentially damage or even destroy people's lives. The Community Remedy is all about putting the victim first and empowering them to take instant action. 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 improve public confidence."
From this month onwards, the majority of support services for victims, which were traditionally provided at a national level by government, will now be provided at a local level by PCCs.
The transition process towards locally-provided services is currently underway in Gwent and the PCC and his team have been engaged in comprehensive discussions and consultations with a range of partners in the community to shape how victims' services will look and be delivered in future.
For further information about the Community Remedy, please visit http://www.gwent.pcc.police.uk/engagement/victims/