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Just Reported

Crime victims to have say on punishments

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By IH Thursday 23 October 2014 Updated: 23/10 07:41

VICTIMS of crime in Warwickshire can now have a say in how an offender is punished.

A new charter launched this week – by Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball and his West Mercia counterpart Bill Longmore – will allow victims of anti-social behaviour and crimes such as minor criminal damage, thefts, and assaults to play a part in deciding how culprits are punished by choosing from a list of options.

The choice of options, known as community remedies, were selected following a consultation run by the commissioners over the summer. They include:

• An apology from the offender, in person, or a written apology, which is acceptable to the victim.

• 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.

• An activity to put things right such as cleaning or repairing damage.

• Financial compensation via a one-off payment for 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 police agree with the victim.

The commissioners hope the new charter will make offenders take responsibility for their behaviour, while also

helping put the power of local justice back into the community.

And they believe it will also help to deliver justice more quickly, by providing speedier alternatives to court proceedings.

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.”

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