Young offenders came face-to-face with a victim of their crimes as a Government pilot project to tackle yob behaviour got under way in Wakefield.
The first Neighbourhood Resolution Panel has been held in the city.
The panel was created after the Ministry of Justice’s announcement earlier this year that 18 local authorities were to pilot new panels tackling antisocial behaviour.
The panel’s first case involved two young people caught by police causing damage in the Lupset area.
The youths attended the panel with their parents and the resolution agreed by the victim and the young people was to clear up and renovate a local youth shelter, which they have carried out.
Coun Olivia Rowley, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “These panels are about breaking the cycle of offending and re-offending and giving communities responsibility and a say about what happens in their local area.
“The neighbourhood resolutions mean the offenders are forced to come face to face with the victims of their crimes and together agree on the best way forward. This empowers victims and helps us build stronger and safer communities.”
The panels are made up of local victims, offenders and criminal justice professionals. The Panel work with community volunteers, with an aim to agree what actions should be taken to deal with low level crime such as criminal damage or disorderly conduct. An offender will only be put forward to the panel after they have admitted responsibility and both they and the victim consent.
Acting Sgt Steve Sayles, of Wakefield Police, said: “This is yet another tool we can use in our efforts to combat crime and antisocial behaviour within our communities. Not only are the offenders brought to justice but they get to meet the victim of their crime and are helped to understand the impact of their offending.”
In Wakefield the panels are being piloted in Lupset and Airedale, and offenders are being identified and referred to the Panels by police and the council’s antisocial behaviour unit.