A RISE in the crime detection rates coincides with a new service for victims.
In the first two weeks of January, Cheshire police solved 36.5% of all crime reported by the public, an increase of 8.5% on the same period last year.
This comes as the Force rolls out its ‘Focused’ approach, where victims of crime are given the option to face the person who has harmed them, and have their voice heard as part of the Restorative Justice programme.
Cheshire police successfully piloted restorative justice last year and has, since October last year, trained almost 1,000 of its officers in its use.
Restorative justice increases the options available to officers for solving crime and disorder issues, especially in relation to first time offenders, who are required to listen to the impact that their criminality has caused and must explain their actions. The victim then agrees what consequences the offender should face.
Assistant chief constable Garry Shewan said: “We are not adopting a ‘soft justice’ approach.
“The impact of restorative justice in Cheshire has been significant.
“Offenders are facing up to the consequences of their actions and making amends by paying for the crime or repairing the damage caused.”
Restorative Justice has been primarily used to deal with theft, shoplifting, criminal damage, minor assaults and anti-social behaviour.
Mr Shewan added: “It is really making a difference in re-offending and victim satisfaction rates when used with young people or first time offenders.
“Here in Cheshire we are anticipating that 120 crimes this month will be dealt with in this way.”
Evidence from studies into Restorative Justice show that offenders are less likely to re-offend if dealt with in this way rather than being arrested.
Cheshire police’s evaluation of the pilots showed that 78% of victims felt that it was a more appropriate way of dealing with the crime, and 73% of them said they could now put the incident behind them, felt safe in their own community and were no longer scared of the offender.