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Restorative Justice 'can be justified' in serious cases

May 08, 2013

from the article by Jack Sommers in Police Oracle:

Frontline officers have a judgement call to make when deciding whether victims of more serious offences would benefit from Restorative Justice (RJ) rather than a prosecution, a senior officer has said.

ACC Garry Shewan, who leads on justice and community resolutions for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), said there was not a “simple formula” and there was no prescribed list of offences for which Restorative Justice could be used.

His comments come after the Labour Party published statistics showing RJ was used on 33,763 occasions for offences involving violence in 2012, 10,160 of which involved serious violence and injury. The party claimed its use for violent offences had doubled since 2009 and Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper called on the government to issue “strong guidance” to ensure it was only used for less serious offences.

The party said that ACPO’s guidance says Restorative Justice should only be used to resolve less serious offences such as anti-social behaviour incidents.

But ACC Shewan said: “Guidelines are in place to help forces decide where the use of community resolutions might be appropriate but in every case, this decision will be victim-led and reflect their views and wishes.

“While in the main they are used to deal with less serious offences, there is no simple formula. At times it may be necessary, and appropriate, to use such informal resolutions to deal with more serious cases.”

Read the whole article.

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