Putting It Right
Want to find out more?
For Interested Parties:
Please contact the Youth Offending Service [YOS] if the individual you wish to book on to the scheme is under 18 years old.
For over 18s please contact the BCRP directly to book a session.
A community resolution offers victims of crime an informal, flexible response to the incident they have reported. At the same time, it offers offenders a 'second chance'- an opportunity to make amends for their mistakes without suffering consequences which can dramtically affect future life chances.
Our award-winning 'Putting It Right' scheme was developed after disillusioned businesses asked for a more meaningful outcome when an individual is offered a community resolution for low level shop theft.
The scheme has two parts; a mediation session and a 'giving back' session.
As part of the mediation a member of BCRP staff trained in restorative justice techniques meets with the offender to discuss the offence effectively representing the victim of the crime. The discussion focuses on the effect upon the victim[s] of the crime, why the individual committed the act and the consequences for their future employment and travel opportunities if the behaviour continues and results in a conviction.
After discussions have come to an end, staff escort the individual to Oxfam for the 'giving back' part of the scheme which involves a session of unpaid work for the charity.
In 2016/17 BCRP staff delivered sessions to 57 offenders; only 2 (3.5%) re-offended within a twelve month period. Those who did re-offend were actually above the usual 'threshold for acceptance' on the project which normally accepts only first time/low level offenders.
Tackling low level offences is an important intervention catching young offenders before they reach a 'tipping point' and their behaviour leads to greater criminal activity placing a greater demand on police resources and the wider criminal justice system.
A member of BCRP staff describes how the scheme was used to deal with a shoplifting incident:
The young person, when stopped by security, had run away and a chase ensued. This pursuit ended in the middle of a busy city centre street, with the young person throwing the stolen stock (a leg of lamb) at the guard who then tripped and subsequently nearly got hit by a passing bus. The young person got away at this point but was identified through CCTV and then issued with a community resolution.
The session started with face-to-face mediation where the offence was discussed at length from the young person’s perspective and their view of the crime and its repercussions. This discussion enabled me to look at any underlying issues, to ensure that I make appropriate referrals for issues such as, poverty, drug use, home life, schooling etc.
With this particular young person we invited the security guard along to talk with them about the effects the incident had on him. This ensured the young person could see first-hand that shoplifting is not a “victimless” crime.
A question that we always ask the offender is ‘what has been the hardest thing for you?’ For this young person, he did not know what happened after he had thrown the leg of lamb at the guard. The last thing he saw was the bus screeching to a halt as he ran away. Discussing this incident with me acting as a facilitator helped the young person gain closure and importantly to see that his actions could have ended with a much more serious outcome.
Once rapport was gained in the "Putting it Right" session, I and the young person headed off to Oxfam to complete some unpaid work sorting clothes in the back of the shop. At this point they have the option to 'give back' to the community to atone for their actions or end the session without giving back and accept the possibility of being charged with the offence and getting a criminal record. They chose the former.