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13 July 2012, 06:00
A new way of dealing with anti-social behaviour is going to be tried out in part of Norfolk
The Ministry of Justice is going to try working with 15 local Neighbourhood Justice Panels, from today, designed to resolve anti-social behaviour and low-level crime which affects local communities.
The Broadland area of Norfolk is one of just a handful of places across the country asked to try it out.
The Panels will deliver agreed restorative justice outcomes and can include the perpetrator agreeing to carry out tasks which make amends to the victim or the community. They are designed to give victims and the wider community much more of a say in the punishments handed down.
The panels include volunteers from the community, who are provided with training in restorative justice, and facilitate meetings between the victim and perpetrator. The police, local authority, parents/appropriate adults, youth services and victims’ services can also be represented at the panel meeting, depending on the circumstances of the case. The aim is to agree meaningful action on the part of the perpetrator that meets the needs of the victim, and any wider community involved.
The approach will also be tested in Barnsley (South Yorkshire), Halton (Cheshire), Islington (London), Kirklees (West Yorkshire), Lambeth (London), Manchester, North Wales, Salford (Greater Manchester), Staffordshire, Stockport (Greater Manchester), Swindon (Wiltshire), Trafford (Greater Manchester), Wakefield (West Yorkshire) and Wigan (Greater Manchester).
Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice Nick Herbert said:
"Too often offenders are dealt with behind-the-scenes, with little regard for the effect of crimes on victims and communities. We want to reconnect the justice system to the local communities they serve.
“Our commitment to work with 15 Neighbourhood Justice Panels across the country is a big step in ensuring local areas have a direct say in determining the appropriate response to the crime and anti-social behaviour which affects them.”