More than 150 youngsters spared court since new justice scheme launched (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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More than 150 youngsters spared court since new justice scheme launched
2:39pm Friday 16th August 2013 in News
PUNISHING youngsters by keeping them out of court is not a soft option, said a police chief.
Cleveland Police officers have used the ‘restorative justice’ approach to deal with 164 incidents since the initiative was officially launched in May.
It gives victims a greater say in the punishment of youths who are first time offenders, which could involve helping to repair damage or write a letter of apology.
PC Mark Wilkinson, neighbourhood officer for Acklam, used the scheme to handle a case involving anti-social behaviour at Middlesbrough Golf Club.
“Patrols were carried out in the area and a 12-year-old boy was caught with golf balls and flags,” she said. “The boy told PC Wilkinson that he thought was just having harmless fun and it wasn’t until discussion about the consequences of his actions for the golf club that he realised.
“He then wrote a letter of apology to the golf club and hand delivered it alongside a family member and accompanied by PC Wilkinson.”
Although the crime is recorded, the restorative justice approach keeps the youngster out of the criminal justice system.
Incidents involving serious domestic abuse, serious assaults, house burglary, offences involving weapons and high value crime are excluded from the scheme.
Cleveland Police Assistant Chief Constable, Sean White, said: “While this approach is working well, it’s not a soft option and young people only get one chance to make a commitment to change their behaviour.”
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