Rugby crime victims ‘can have a say on how criminals are punished’

Warwickshire police and crime commissioner Ron Ball

Warwickshire police and crime commissioner Ron Ball

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Victims of crime in Warwickshire can now have a say in how an offender is punished, under a new scheme launched this week.

Under the new approach, victims of anti-social behaviour and “low-level” crime - such as low level criminal damage, low value theft, and minor assaults - will for the first time have a say in how the offender is punished, by choosing from a list of options.

The choice of options, known as community remedies, were selected following a consultation run by Warwickshire police and crime commissioner Ron Ball and his West Mercia counterpart over the summer.

The community remedies available to victims include:

* An apology from the offender, in person, or a written apology, which is genuine and acceptable to the victim. (You would not be forced to meet the offender face to face if you did not want to). It can be helpful for the offender to apologise to their victim because it makes them face up to the consequences of their actions.

* A third party to bring together both parties to reach a common agreement to resolve a dispute.

* A ban from named premises for a specified period of time.

* An Acceptable Behaviour Contract.

* A reparative activity – putting things right, such cleaning and repairing damage.

* Financial compensation by means of a one-off payment for the damage caused to land or property, or the cost of replacing stolen goods, or a donation to a charity of the victim’s choice.

* Any other appropriate action the police officer has agreed with the victim and subsequently with the officer’s line manager.

Mr Ball said: “The Community Remedy document marks a return to common-sense policing. It hands power back to victims of crime and gives them a voice. The public should be able to see the offender putting right what they have done wrong, or being asked to participate in an activity that deters them from re-offending.

“Too often, victims are left feeling dissatisfied waiting for lengthy court proceedings over low level crime. The new approach set out in the Community Remedy is swifter and more direct, and gives the victims a vital say in how the offender is punished.”

* What do you think of the idea? Email editorial@rugbyadvertiser.co.uk.