Do you welcome a move for crime victims to meet those responsible?

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CRIME victims around Bognor Regis will be the first in the county to experience a new form of justice.

Those who have suffered from nuisance and anti-social behaviour in Barnham and Bersted will be given the chance to meet those responsible.

The meetings will allow those harmed to talk about how they were affected and those who caused the harm the chance to make amends.

The parishes - along with Angmering - are the first to be chosen by the Sussex Criminal Justice Board as a pilot scheme for West Sussex.

Chief Inspector Jane Derrick, who leads the police in the Arun district, said: “The pilot is about changing behaviour long term and preventing further offences.

“We have seen the impact it has had elsewhere, with an average 27 per cent reduction in crime. We are hopeful of seeing the same in Arun.”

The pilot to give communities a voice will deal with behaviour which is not serious enough to prosecute.

Cases will be referred by the police, councils, social landlords, the Youth Offending Service, anti-social behaviour officers and similar agencies as well as community groups.

The person harmed and the person who caused the harm must agree to meet.

The meetings will result in a letter of apology, helping the victim out or paying for the criminal damage.

If it is not completed, further action against the offender will be considered.

Each meeting will be overseen by a facilitator. This will be a community volunteer trained to lead the discussion and help to agree a meaningful outcome.

Volunteers are needed for the role. Interviews will take place from May 6-10 and full training from May 23-26.

Candidates need to be over 18, have patience, good judgment, be open-minded, committed and with good communication skills.

Paul Wotherspoon, Arun District Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “We would ask anyone who has the time and also feels they have the right personality for this role to contact us for more information.

“They could play a vital role in delivering restorative justice to the district.”

Sussex Criminal Justice Board’s Bruce Tippen said: “Restorative justice has been acknowledged as an effective way of helping individuals and communities to resolve their issues.”

Details: community.safety@arun.gov.uk or 01903 737575.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Do you welcome a move for crime victims to meet those responsible? Sadly our new-look website no longer has a voting panel, but please leave your comments below.