This week Police & Crime Commissioner John Dwyer & Cheshire Constabulary will be highlighting the value of Restorative Justice as part of a national campaign to raise awareness.
The Constabulary first took on the concept back in 2008 and has been working hard with partners across Cheshire to ensure it is used correctly and effectively. The hard work paid off this month after the Cheshire Restorative and Mediation Hub received national accreditation and the quality standard kite-mark for its approach.
The hub, provided for through funding from the Commissioner, is testament to a huge amount of work coordinated across multiple agencies including Victim Support, Cheshire Constabulary, youth offending teams and the National Probation Service.
Commenting on the work in Cheshire Commissioner John Dwyer said: “My focus is placing victims at the heart of the criminal justice system. Restorative Justice puts the victim in control, enabling them to tell the offender how they feel, and the consequences of the offender’s actions.
"I think this can be an important part of the recovery process for the victim, as it can provide an element of closure to the case as they’re able to hear first-hand the motives behind the offender’s actions.”
The quality mark is given to those who can demonstrate they meet the service standards, which are set out by the Restorative Justice Council to ensure quality of provision and participant safety in the restorative process.
Since May this year the Commissioner and Constabulary have been working in partnership with other agencies to achieve the quality mark status; this will culminate with the Commissioner receiving the certification this week.
Chief Constable Simon Byrne said: “The Restorative Justice Council has recently assessed our approach to Restorative Justice and we’re pleased to say that we have all been awarded the kite-mark.
“Staff from all the agencies involved worked hard to achieve this and can be proud that, thanks to their dedication, we are empowering victims to meet their offenders in a way that they are comfortable with.
"We can demonstrate that we are using the Restorative Justice process appropriately and effectively, meaning victims in Cheshire are seeing a crime dealt with in a way of their choosing that also influences future behaviour by the offender.
“When used correctly it is a very strong tool to help victims gain closure and help offenders understand the effect their crime has on the victim, deterring them from further offences. The quality mark shows that we are using Restorative Justice effectively.”
John Dwyer concluded: “I would like to thank all those who have worked so hard in achieving this. The accreditation and quality mark just goes to show what can be accomplished through working together towards a single goal – better outcomes for victims.”