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  Restorative Practices within Police Forces

Restorative practice gives police forces a framework to bring together victims and offenders. Such a meeting often has a profound effect on both the victim and the offender. Restorative practice puts the victim at the centre of the process allowing them to regain the control that being a victim of crime has removed from them. This empowers them by giving them an opportunity to have their say, maybe ask questions and to humanise their offender. Often victims have a distorted over fearful image of their offender that contributes greatly to the anxiety they feel by meeting their offender they often are able to minimize this fear and move on with their lives. Offenders often deny to themselves that their crimes cause harm, by bringing them face to face with their victims and hearing the harm that they cause dramatically changes many offenders' views of the impact of their crimes. Offenders who participate within a restorative process are 30% less likely to reoffend.

Some police forces use restorative practice to deliver cautions, reprimands and final warnings. It promotes the taking of responsibility, accountability and truth telling which can help reduce neighbor conflict, minor crimes, harassment, racially motivated crime and many other incidents.

The Youth Restorative Disposals (YRDs) and Adult Restorative Disposals (ARDs) provide a possible opportunity for restorative practice to benefit those involved in a crime.

Benefit to the victim:
  • Opportunity to participate in a process that they are central to
  • Have their say
  • Take back some control of their situation by choosing to participate
  • Ask any questions
  • Have a say about reparation, unpaid work, financial restitution, or an apology
  • Witness genuine remorse
  • Reduces anxiety and possible post traumatic stress disorder
Benefit to the offender:
  • Learn about the harm they caused
  • Acknowledge that harm
  • Explain what happened
  • Opportunity to apologise
  • Attempt to repair the harm caused
  • Reduces re-offending
Benefit to the wider community:
  • Allows victims a voice within the Criminal Justice system
  • Is a solution focused process that is fair and effective
  • Holds offenders accountable
  • Reduces reoffending
 
© Restorative Training Services, 2010