Panel to act on criminals

A 'neighbourhood crime panel' scheme will be piloted in Lupset. Local victims, offenders and criminal justice professionals will work with community volunteers to decide how minor crimes, such as criminal damage or disorderly conduct, should be dealt with. L-R PC Chris Raby,Alyx Hollies,Clint Hepworth (co-ordinator),Insp. Richard Close and Jean Smethurst.
A 'neighbourhood crime panel' scheme will be piloted in Lupset. Local victims, offenders and criminal justice professionals will work with community volunteers to decide how minor crimes, such as criminal damage or disorderly conduct, should be dealt with. L-R PC Chris Raby,Alyx Hollies,Clint Hepworth (co-ordinator),Insp. Richard Close and Jean Smethurst.
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OFFENDERS, victims of crime and community volunteers will decide how criminals should be dealt with when a new scheme is trialled in Lupset.

A ‘neighbourhood resolution panel’ will be made up of victims, offenders and criminal justice professionals.

And the panel will work with community volunteers to agree on how to deal with low level crime such as criminal damage or disorderly conduct in the Lupset area.

People who commit these lower level crimes will be referred to the panel by local police officers, after they have admitted responsibility for their actions and the victim has consented.

The scheme is part of a government initiative that aims to break the cycle of crime and deter re-offenders.

And Wakefield is one of 18 local authority areas where it will be given trials.

Coun Peter Box, leader of Wakefield Council, said the council welcomed the scheme.

He said: “The panel is not a decision-making forum and will not act as a judge or lay blame. Instead, with the help of a trained community volunteer, it will work with victims and offenders to agree how to put the wrongs right.

“These panels are about breaking the cycle of offending and re-offending and giving communities responsibility and a say about what happens in their local area.

“I am very pleased that Wakefield is part of the pilot for new ways of people working together to make communities safer and stronger.”

Chief inspector Mel Williams, of Wakefield police, said: “When the police and partners respond to anti-social behaviour and low level offending we want communities to see effective action taken but we also want to go further and involve them in shaping that action themselves.

“These neighbourhood panels require the perpetrator to face both their victim and the consequences of their actions while also taking responsibility for those actions within their own communities, as it is those residents whose quality of life which is often blighted by their behaviour.”