New Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour Scheme outperforms the rest of the UK
Darlington Borough Council’s 'Neighbourhood Resolution' scheme to tackle low-level crime, anti-social behaviour and neighbour disputes in Darlington is out-performing other schemes of its kind across the country.
The 'Neighbourhood Resolution' scheme was launched last November to support residents experiencing crime or conflict through a restorative approach (a form of mediation). It offers victims the chance to meet offenders in a safe environment to discuss the harm caused and agree a way forward.
After only five months of operation, the number of referrals to the scheme in Darlington is three times the national average, according to Ministry of Justice (MOJ) figures published in March. Darlington Neighbourhood Resolution team have helped 33 individuals affected by anti-social behaviour to take part in restorative meetings, with the number of restorative meetings taking place in Darlington standing at twice the national average.
This high uptake is testament to its value among agencies and members of the public. In addition to a strong evidence-base for its effectiveness, restorative approaches are associated with extremely high rates of victim satisfaction and reoffending rates as low as 5%.
The service is coordinated by Darlington Borough Council and supported by a team of volunteer community facilitators, who work in close partnership with the Police and other agencies to support victims and tackle the problems that blight local communities. Since the November launch, the team have helped 60 individuals across Darlington to resolve the issues they faced – helping them regain their confidence and resume normal day-to-day life, free of stress and fear.
Bill Dixon, Leader of Darlington Borough Council says: “This is a great result for Darlington. We’re committed to working to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the town and this is an important way of helping offenders to see first-hand the damage that their behaviour can cause, ultimately reducing the likelihood that they will re-offend.”
Darlington Borough Council has gained a national reputation for excellence in the field of restorative approaches. Last July, the town’s Youth Offending Service scooped the first ever National Award for Restorative Justice, presented by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Sir David Brewer CMG JP, at a prestigious ceremony in London’s West End.
Durham Police and Crime Commissioner, Ron Hogg, said: “This excellent initiative reflects, not only an innovative approach to tackling such issues, but reflects a deep seated and ongoing commitment.”
Referrals to Darlington Neighbourhood Resolution are welcomed from individual members of the public and community groups, as well as professionals and partner agencies. Enquiries can be made by telephoning the scheme's coordinator, Andrew Hancock on (01325) 346872. Referral forms can be obtained by emailing: NRreferrals@darlington.gov.uk
Posted on Tuesday 15th April 2014