Corby offenders to apologise to crime victims
Offenders are to meet their victims to apologise for their crimes as part of a new restorative justice scheme in Northamptonshire.
A Neighbourhood Resolution Forum was started in Corby on Thursday.
Volunteers are being trained to set up meetings between perpetrators and victims in a bid to cut re-offending.
Adrian Lee, Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police, said the scheme allows offenders to see the "impact" of their crimes.
A pilot of the scheme - rolled out by the Local Criminal Justice Board and Corby Community Partnership - has been running since February.
So far, 12 victims and 18 offenders have taken part.
A teacher who was assaulted by a pupil in a school was one of those to attend a meeting with his attacker.
The boy, who had been excluded, was allowed back into school after making an apology to his victim.
Mr Lee, who is also chair of the Local Criminal Justice Board, said: "The forums are a victim-focused resolution to crime or non-crime incidents, bringing those harmed and those responsible together in a constructive dialogue."
Richard Monkhouse, deputy chair of the Magistrates' Association, said offenders should only be referred to the scheme in certain circumstances.
He said: "For very trivial offences it might be sufficient on its own.
"When you get into more serious offences we would like to see it as part of the sentencing powers of magistrates or even crown courts."