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23 November 2010, 12:34
Following an agreement between the council and Probation Service local offenders have been able to pay back for their crime by carrying out environmental tasks in the borough.
A team of offenders spends one day a week in Hertsmere, working through a list of tasks drawn up by the council. Numbers vary each week but generally around five offenders take part in each session.
Tasks in the first year of the scheme have included blitzing estates in Elstree, Borehamwood, Bushey and Potters Bar by picking up litter, collecting leaves, sweeping footpaths and painting over graffiti.
They’ve also cutback overgrown bramble and vegetation at Shenleybury cemetery and put up 50 Neighbourhood Watch signs across the borough.
Councillor Jean Heywood, Environment Portfolio Holder, said: "This is a great partnership project which has made a real positive impact on the borough. Each week a team of people are getting stuck into whatever we have arranged for them and many residents have commented on the difference they’ve made."
Councillor John Donne, Community Safety Portfolio Holder, added: "Well-kept areas tend to make people feel safer and can also reduce criminal activity. In addition the scheme is going some way to rehabilitate offenders and deter them from offending again by giving them an opportunity to learn and gain work-related skills. Those that complete the programme have a better chance of getting a job, which can obviously help them get on the straight and narrow."
Aaron Nibletts is the area parks manager and told Heart it's not just the area that benefits from this scheme, but the also the offenders:
"They want to learn new tasks and want to pay something back aswel, so they are always willing to try it out. That's why we always give varied tasks so its not just 'pick up dog mess' every week, they are doing something different and get to learn new skills."
Local residents get to have a say in what tasks the offenders do to make a difference to the community. If there is anything you want to see improved you can contact Hertsmere Borough Council on 020 8207 7519 or email firstname.lastname@example.org