Neighbourhood Resolution Panels for Cambridge


Monday, March 12th, 2012. 7:15pm


Restorative Justice in Practice Evaluating What Works for Victims and Offenders By Joanna Shapland, Gwen Robinson, Angela Sorsby

Book Cited By Cambridge City Council Justifying Foray Into Restorative Justice

On Thursday the 15th of March councillors on Cambridge City Council’s Community Services Scrutiny Committee will discuss bringing a new form of restorative justice to Cambridge.

Meetings called “Neighbourhood Resolution Panels” which would involve “offenders” discussing their actions with their victims in sessions chaired by volunteers, potentially university law students, are proposed. The meetings would only take place where “offenders” and victims volunteer to attend and participate.

I have put “offenders” in inverted commas as those responsible for non-criminal “anti-social behaviour”, or involved in neighbour-neighbour disputes, would also be offered the opportunity to attend the panels. The panels are not courts, they will not determine guilt or innocence. Only those who admit their offence or behaviour will be eligible to participate.

The proposal is to offer the panels alongside existing out of court disposals such as fixed penalty notices and cautions. As the existing formal processes will continue I support the council’s experiment subject to the questions and concerns noted below.

A proposal document will be presented to the committee by council officer Liz Bisset (Salary an astronomical £91,891 per year). There are many areas of ambiguity and many questions left unanswered by the proposal.

Questions

What incentives are there for offenders to participate?

The proposal document states a basic principle of the scheme will be it is voluntary, neither offender or victim will be compelled to participate. What is much less clear is how offenders may be coerced or persuaded to take part. Hints are given that an offender might be able to avoid being charged with an offence by volunteering for the scheme and if they fail to fulfil the requirements of an agreement signed at a panel meeting their case may be referred back to the police or CPS for them to reconsider their charging decision. I think there needs to be much greater clarity and honesty on this point.

Scale?

No indication is given of how many offenders the council expects to deal with under the scheme. The council document refers to a similar scheme in Sheffield, according to one evaluation report this dealt with 20 referrals; 18 from the police and two from housing associations from June to November 2009.

Will panel sessions be open to the public?

The council’s proposal is based on a Ministry of Justice specification document, this states: “the Panel should look to communicate the results of their activity back to the community”, the Cambridge scheme contains no provisions for doing this.

I suggest holding adult panel meetings in public to enable reporting on their operation. I would like to see lists of all cases to be discussed at panels published, along with details of the agreements reached, and perhaps a summary of what happened at the panel meeting (subject to the same kind of reporting restrictions which prevent the identification of child offenders as apply in the courts).

Where the Cambridge residents at large are victims, or where behaviour has influenced a whole road or neighbourhood, I think there is a case for holding panel meetings in public. Offenders could perhaps in some cases be invited to ward based meetings or the city’s area committees to discuss their actions.

Who will provide oversight and monitor the scheme’s operation?

The Government’s specification document strongly recommends oversight arrangements involving local Magistrates and others. There are no proposals for oversight in the proposal document for the Cambridge scheme.

What records will be kept?

I think it is important to be clear what will be recorded, how long will records be kept for and who will they be shared with? The Cambridge proposal is for informal agreements to be reached during the panel sessions, and not more formal Anti-Social Behaviour Contracts, if this means an individual’s record at panel meetings would be reported to a court if they eventually appeared in-front of one is not made clear. My concern here is that following the instruction of this, and other schemes, Magistrates may not get as full a picture of an individual’s record of offending as they would have done previously.

What offences and behaviours will the panels be used for?

This is a really important question, but the proposal for the Cambridge scheme lacks clarity in this area too.
I expect there is an error in the Cambridge proposal where it states:

At present Cambridgeshire Constabulary believes that the range of offences to which RJ could be applied would be those where a gravity score of two or more would apply, excluding those that involves drugs, weapons or a sexual motivation.

I suspect it perhaps ought say ” a gravity score of two or less would apply. This is indicative of the sloppy way in which the proposal is presented. Offences with a “gravity score” of 2 or below, is the same criteria as Cambridgeshire Police are currently using to determine if an offence is automatically acceptable for their on-street “instant reparation” form of “restorative justice”, and these panels are being described as being for more serious offences, so it isn’t clear at all.
Councillors have not been given a copy of the full gravity scoring tables as part of their documents; it looks as if a link was intended to be provided but this is non-fuctional (simply a coloured and underlined word) in the published material.
I have concerns at both ends of the spectrum; I am concerned that these panels may be invoked in relation to behaviour which is perfectly legal and acceptable, such as gathering in groups, even though that may cause alarm, and/or prompt calls to the police or council from some people.

Who will represent the “victim” where the offence, or action, impacts the public at large and not a specific individual?

This is a question I have asked in relation to on-street instant reparation as well, and it his not been addressed either in that context or in relation to the proposed panels. The Ministry of Justice specification states: “” For offences where there is no specific victim, representatives of the community may attend.” I’ve asked if any of my local councillors have yet given approval for restorative justice to be used in a specific case and been told they have not. I would like to know if councillors are to represent “the community” at Cambridge’s “Neighbourhood Resolution Panels”.

What efforts are being made to make this a good experiment?

This is a trial which the Ministry of Justice is going to seek to evaluate. I suggest steps ought be taken to ensure it is a good experiment, for example making it into a randomised control trial and considering working with academics. Care should be taken to ensure results from Cambridge are comparable with those obtained elsewhere.

How can “no-fault” cases be dealt with if a pre-requsite is an offender admitting their guilt?

I cannot see how if acceptance of guilt or responsibility is a pre-requesite for a panel hearing the system can be used in cases described as “no-fault” as the Cambridge proposal states.

Citing Research

Section 2 of the Cambridge proposal cites research showing restorative justice is effective at reducing re-offending. The citation given is to a book: “Shapland, J., Robinson, G. and Sorsby, A. (2011) Restorative justice in practice. London: Routledge”. Link to book page on publisher’s website. (Amazon).

Citing the book isn’t in my view very helpful, given the research discussed in the book, which was funded by the Ministry of Justice, has been made publicly available. The work is an evaluation of three Home Office funded schemes run from mid 2001 to 2003/4, all are three involve quite different circumstances to those proposed for Cambridge’s “Neighbourhood Resolution Panels” :

  • CONNECT – involving adult offenders mainly between conviction and sentence
  • JRC – After guilty plea, before sentence, with the exemption of some case in Northumbria, but even there the individuals were due to appear in Crown Court. (This was a randomised trial)
  • REMEDI – wide range of stages, but those mentioned are all post-sentence, or post-action.

This is the same research which was used to justify Cambridgeshire Police’s instant on-street reparation, and I opposed its use for that purpose on the grounds I could see almost no parallels between post-court restorative meetings and the on-street reparations, which do not generally involve meetings. There is still a huge gulf between post-court meetings, and what is proposed in Cambridge which is meetings in relation to offences or behaviour which would have, and is to be, dealt with out of court. However there is more of a connection in this case as the key aspect of a meeting between the offender / person responsible and the victim is a common factor. I would still be very cautious about extrapolating from intervention at one point in the justice process with interventions elsewhere. I think a major omission from the report is noting the differences between the form of restorative justice in the cited research and what is being proposed.

My Views

Clearly at the moment I only have so much information to go on, and there are very many unanswered questions about the proposals and how the scheme in Cambridge is intended to operate. Based on the available information my views are:

  • I think we have to do better at reforming offenders, and its worth doing these experiments to see if restorative justice can help. I think there are benefits to victims too as they may gain a greater understanding of what happened to them and why.
  • I am concerned about the increasing use of out of court, and civil rather than criminal, penalties for offenders. Where serious offences are committed I think they should be heard in court.
  • There is emerging evidence that restorative justice meetings have been successful when used alongside the due process of a court. I therefore question why in Cambridgeshire we’re starting with these experiments, rather than at least in parallel doing what appears to work elsewhere.
  • Some quoted statistics for the success of restorative justice appear questionable, for example the Cambridge proposal cites work done by Sheffield City Council who have run a similar scheme saying:

    The re-offending rate for young people taking part in RJ was 5.2 percent against the national re-offending rate for other forms of disposal of 39.2 percent.

    however this doesn’t show conclusively there is an effect from the restorative meetings, just that those offenders who are prepared to volunteer to take part in such meetings have lower rates of reoffending than the national average.

  • I am concerned this might be a slippery slope, already instances of offenders being sentenced by a court to participate in a restorative justice meeting have occurred. (p vii of this PDF)
  • While the currently proposed scheme would run in parallel with existing out of court disposals, or operate where otherwise no action would have been taken, I am concerned that in the future it may be extended to be used instead of formal action, which in the case of the more serious eligible offences would not be appropriate.
  • This is an expansion of the city council’s role. I’m generally in favour of a small state and am astounded at the number of staff within the council, I question if this expansion is necessary or desirable. The council needs to work closely with the police, courts, and other bodies on a wide rage of subjects, but I don’t think it should start encroaching on their roles. .

The Cambridge Scheme

Involvement in the Cambridge scheme is to be limited to those “offenders” who would not otherwise have gone to court, ie. those who no action would have been taken against or those who would have been formally dealt with via out of court disposals (eg. cautions, or Fixed Penalty Notices). In the latter cases the formal process will continue and the restorative justice meeting will, if taken up, be in addition to that.

If that model is stuck to, and the restorative justice meetings are kept an optional add-on to what would happen anyway, I think that goes a long way to dealing with any objections to them. However with all such things, if this is the starting point, I think there needs to be a consideration of where we could end up.

“Anti-social behaviour (ASB) that is not serious enough to prosecute” is included in the scope of the scheme and it isn’t clear from the proposal document what that might include. I am concerned that we might see people being asked to attend these panels for things like gathering in groups; while some people might be genuinely alarmed by such behaviour and consider it anti-social I don’t think it ought be remotely criminalised.

Overall I’m not keen on spending time and resources on otherwise non-criminal “anti-social behaviour”. Almost every time I’ve heard someone raise a concern about “anti-social behaviour” their real concern has been criminality and they have simply been using the phrase “anti-social behaviour” because they think they need use the jargon to be heard. When “anti-social behaviour” is discussed in public meetings almost invariably members of the public say things like: “Can I talk about burglary, is that considered anti-social behaviour?”, “Can I talk about criminal damage, is that considered anti-social behaviour?” etc. I’d rather the focus was on such genuine criminality, things which were criminal before New Labour’s Anti-Social behaviour laws.

I am concerned about the involvement of these panels in circumstances where previously the state would not have intervened at all.

As well as having cases referred to them by the police the “Neighbourhood Resolution Panels” will also consider cases referred from the city council’s housing officers, other parts of the city council, and housing associations.

The proposal indicates the scheme may go into schools (but notably not the city’s universities or other institutions) as well.

To a large extent it appears what the council is effectively considering offering is a mediation and informal dispute resolution service.

Consultation

Officer Bisset in her report states:

“The outline scheme proposed here has been developed in partnership with, and has the full support of, the police and other criminal justice system agencies.”

The proposal also suggests consultations have been carried out, but the results of these have not been presented to councillors, beyond the above assertion. Nationwide magistrates have been expressing concern about the use of out-of-court disposals, and this was echoed by the Cambridge magistrate’s representative at the December 2011 Community Safety Partnership meeting. I would like to know what our local magistrates think about the council’s proposals.

Money

The only budget is for staffing, to be spent employing a worker for 18.5 hours a week over the two year period, costing £16,000 per annum including on-costs.

Level Of Offences

The council document describing the scheme proposed for Cambridge doesn’t cite it, but I suspect the gravity scores being referred to are the “ACPO Guidelines on Case Disposal Gravity – Youth Offenders” (Hints of which can be gleaned from in the appendix to this document and from p34 of this PDF from Dyfed Powys Police.

The following are examples of non-sexual and non-drugs related “Level 2 offences” from the latter document:

  • Common Assault
  • Criminal Damage
  • Threat to Destroy Property of Another
  • Possession of Articles with Intent to Commit Criminal Damage
  • False Alarms to Emergency Services
  • Possessing a false document with intent
  • Forgery of documents etc.
  • Threatening abusive or insulting words or behaviour intended to cause fear of violence or to provoke violence
  • Inconsiderate Driving
  • No ‘L’ plates
  • ‘L’ driver unaccompanied
  • No Test Certificate
  • Wasting Police Time
  • Making Off Without Payment
  • Interference with Vehicle
  • Tampering with Motor Vehicle
  • Taking Vehicle without Consent
  • False Accounting
  • Obtaining Services by Deception
  • Going Equipped to Steal
  • Abstracting Electricity

In relation to criminal offences the Cambridge proposal limits the use of panels to:

Summary only offences that have or will receive a formal out- of-court disposal (for example minor criminal damage or public disorder) but which the work of the panel could complement by agreeing for additional reparative activity to be undertaken by the offender

A summary only offence is one which can be dealt with by magistrates, (or a district judge sitting in their place) but cannot be referred to the Crown Court.

I don’t think it is an accident that a clear list is missing from the meeting papers.

A key question which arises for me from that list is if motoring offences ought be included.

What I’d like councillors to do at, and before, the committee:

  • Ask to see consultation responses from magistrates, and others, and have the documents tabled at the meeting and posted online.
  • Clarify if on p140 the “two or more” is an error and “two or less” is what ought be written.
  • Approve the continued development of proposed scheme subject to:
    • Clear aims being identified.
    • Working with academics and/or the ministry of justice to refine the details of how the proposal will operate with the aim of making it a useful experiment from which robust conclusions can be drawn.
    • Developing a publicity strategy, aimed at maximising openness and transparency while protecting the privacy of offenders and victims.
    • Establishing mechanisms for oversight of the operation of the panels.
    • Clearly limiting approval to the scheme as described, requiring a return to councillors if the scope of the scheme was to change; specifically if it was to move to being used instead of, rather than as well as, established out of court disposals.
  • Complain about the quality of the proposal document in relation to:
    • Unhelpful choice of citations, proposal not fully reflecting content of material cited. eg. citing Shapland’s book and not the openly accessible research and providing no citation for the performance figures from the Sheffield City Council scheme
    • Failure to clearly set out which offences are eligible. How does the ACPO gravity score system relate to the Ministry of Justice table in the proposal?
  • Ask for details of the proposed scale of the proposed scheme, ie. how many panels, dealing with how many offenders is envisaged.
  • Clarify any incentives for offenders to participate in a panel meeting and to comply with any agreement reached.
  • Discuss tailoring the scheme to Cambridge, for example if and how it ought apply to cycling offences and speeding in the 20mph zones for example.
  • Ask the council to lobby for the introduction of restorative justice meetings run by the probation service in Cambridge for those who are being dealt with by the courts (The council is represented on the probation service board).

Finally one other concern I have is that as these resources will be focused on offenders who are happy to volunteer to attend panel meetings we might be targeting the wrong people, and not focusing on the worst offenders.

12 comments/updates on “Neighbourhood Resolution Panels for Cambridge

  1. Richard Taylor Article author

    I observed the Cambridge City Council Community Services Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, 15th March where the proposal to introduce the “Restorative Justice – Neighbourhood Resolution Panels” was supported by a majority of the scrutiny committee, with Liberal Democrat members voting in favour and Labour members abstaining. The executive councillor for policing, Tim Bick, then formally proclaimed his agreement with their recommendation to endorse the scheme as outlined.

    The scheme was approved unamended this means the council is:

    • Ignoring the Ministry of Justice recommendation to consider how the panels’ work can be publicised.
    • Ignoring the Ministry of Justice recommendation to set up mechanisms, probably involving magistrates, for overseeing the operation of the panels.

    I’m happy if our local councillors actively decide to ignore advice from central government, but here they appear not to have even considered the questions of publicity and oversight.

    The section of the proposal where I thought, and still think, there must be a typo was left intact:

    At present Cambridgeshire Constabulary believes that the range of offences to which RJ could be applied would be those where a gravity score of two or more would apply, excluding those that involves drugs, weapons or a sexual motivation.

    This makes no sense, it is contrary to the established position of Cambridgeshire Police as reported to the community safety partnership and the police authority. Why would the panels be used for things which are merely misbehaviour, or a nuisance, ie. well below the threshold of being criminal, not for those with a gravity score of one, but for the more serious offences with gravity scores of two, three and four? This has left me completely baffled.

    If it isn’t a typo we could see people who’ve escaped from custody, or who have been accused drink driving before these panels. There is an astonishing lack of clarity.

    Officer Liz Bisset (Salary an astronomical £91,891 per year) introduced the report. She told councillors there was “university research” into the Sheffield City Council scheme which showed it was successful at reducing reoffending (she didn’t cite any such research in her written paper!) and stressed the Cambridge scheme was modelled on what worked there. Bisset told councillors there had been a 14% reduction in crime in Sheffield as a result of the scheme there. This figure was not in her written report either. Officer Bisset said one of the aims of the panels was to give victims a “sense of justice”.

    Bisset described Shapland’s research as randomised controlled trial despite the fact that it is a review of various projects only one of which was such a trial.

    Bisset gave examples of washing machines being run late at night and noisy children as examples of behaviour which could lead to restorative justice panels being convened by the council.

    Cllr Sarah Brown asked for an assurance careful consideration would be given to using this form of restorative justice where vulnerable people, such as those with mental health problems, were victims. Cllr Brown was told, by officer Lynda/Linda Kilkelly the council’s Safer Communities Manager that care would be taken and “individuals’ support workers” would be asked if they thought a restorative justice panel meeting was appropriate in such cases. (The officer clearly exists in a universe where everyone has a “support worker”!) Officer Kilkelly said she thought it would be unlikely that the proposed panels would be used in relation to such victims.

    Cllr Carina O’Reilly questioned the overlap between the proposed panels and what the council’s existing independent service for mediation and conflict resolution. She said there was a risk of funding the same thing twice. Officers stated the differences between the two were very subtle. Cllr O’Reilly said that was her point.

    Cllr O’Reilly also questioned the rationale of having people from within communities chairing the panels, she said she could think of lots of reasons why that wouldn’t be a good idea, though she didn’t share any of those reasons with the committee.

    Cllr O’Reilly suggested people might want council staff such as housing officers to assist them in making their case at panel meetings, which she thought could create a conflict of interest where panel meetings were administered by the city council.

    Cllr O’Reilly expressed concern that research into restorative justice interventions much later in the criminal justice system was being used to support the quite different proposal before councillors.

    Cllr Reiner offered anecdotal evidence that a restorative approach can be a good thing, saying a work colleague’s wife had been a victim of an attempted robbery in which she was attacked from behind and knocked out. She wasn’t robbed as the police arrived very quickly. She later met one of her attackers, she said it was useful to explain to them how her life had been affected and how she could no longer walk on dark streets and had to spend money on taxis, and said it was useful also to hear about the family background of the attacker which she described as very sad.

    Executive councillor for policing Tim Bick said he welcomed the proposal.

    He said:

    There will be a focus on boundary areas as this is a new kid on the block. It will not be right for all cases. Police cautions or even prosecution will be more appropriate where there is direct wrong doing.

    This point appears to suggest Bick thinks he has approved something which is to be used instead of, not as well as, the existing processes.

    Cllr Bick finished his remarks calling the proposal:

    An exciting innovation

  2. Richard Taylor Article author

    My FOI request has now received a response:

    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/restorative_justice_neighbourhoo

    The request has resulted in the release of much of the background material / supporting evidence which led to Cambridge City Council adopting a policy of establishing Neighbourhood Resolution Panels in Cambridge.

    I suspect councillors reading the newly released background material will be very surprised. There is much greater caution from the police and magistrates than they were told about when they met to discuss the proposal for Cambridge. In addition In my view the “university research” was mis-represented, and councillors were not told that the police are planning their own independent, similar scheme.

    The letter introducing the response confirms there is a typo in the adopted proposal, and it is intended for use in relation to offences given a gravity score of two or less, in the same way as on-street restorative justice. It is not, as the committee and executive councillor were told, intended for more serious offences.

    This typo got past a scrutiny committee and executive councillor for policing, Tim Bick. It will be interesting to see how they extricate themselves from having expressed support for quite a different policy from that their officers intended to recommend.

    A number of documents were released:

    Document one is a report to Sheffield City Council, from January 2011, summarising the performance of a similar scheme adopted there.

    Document two is a research report commissioned by Sheffield City Council. This was carried out after only 20 referrals had been made. I find the description of a report a university was contracted to write as “university research”.

    Document three, shows the magistrates are far from providing enthusiastic support for the scheme; they express concern about a lessening of the role of magistrates.

    Document four reveals the views of the probation service. Their response is astonishing, they have no comment. Their respresentative, Mr Seddon, refers to a presentation at the community safety partnership on restorative justice, but that was almost entirely about on-street restorative justice so I have little faith he and the probation service had properly grasped what it was they were declining to comment on.

    Document five reveals that far from supporting the council scheme, the police are planning their own, called “Restorative Conferencing”, which is to be led by trained Neighbourhood Officers. They also appear to be urging a slower pace, they state: “The Constabulary are aware of the work of the Community Justice Panels and have exploration of this as a longer term objective”.

    Document six is a Police Authority report which the council officer admits to inaccurately transcribing and hence introducing the typo which became council policy.

  3. Richard Taylor Article author

    I have submitted the following public statement to the meeting of the Cambridge Community Safety Partnership to be held on the 1st of May:

    I’d like to suggest the partnership co-ordinate the various “Neighbourhood Resolution Panels” in operation in, and being proposed for, Cambridge.

    The city council already runs a neighbourhood resolution scheme and has recently adopted a policy of pursuing a new scheme with a slightly different remit. The police are proposing their own separate but similar scheme. The Home Secretary has recently reportedly announced plans for another similar concept which result in a fourth scheme.

    In my view some clarity, co-ordination and simplification is is needed.

    http://rtaylor.co.uk/4931

    As we don’t yet have a Police and Crime Commissioner to do this kind of co-ordination, perhaps the community safety partnership could manage it.

  4. Richard Taylor Article author

    On the 9th of July 2012 an update on progress was presented in a report on Neighborhood Resolution Panels to Cambridge City Council’s strategy and resources scrutiny committee.

    In the verbal introduction provided by officer Kilkelly she didn’t appear to realise last time she presented the project to a committee it was the Community Services Scrutiny Committee.

    She stated the majority of referrals would be expected to be from neighbourhood policing.

    My suggestions, which I made using the public speaking slot at the meeting were:

    • Make it a proper, high quality, experiment, so the results can inform future policy decisions for Cambridge and decisions taken elsewhere.
    • Consider having magistrates on the oversight board, and holding oversight meetings in public.
    • Note there will be an encouragement, and inducement, for those admitting criminal offences to take part if the alternative is court or police issued summary justice.

    None of my suggestions were taken up by councillors.

    In fact there was no discussion at all on the item by the committee; no councillors had any questions for their officer.

    Volunteers to chair Neighbourhood Resolution Panels are currently being sought via an open advert on DoIt.org. The role is being advertised as one to be carried out 9-5 weekdays.

  5. Richard Taylor Article author

    In an article I can’t find online today’s Cambridge News is reporting the panels have not yet become operational; well beyond the intended timescale.

    The council blames staff moving and time taken to get agreements in place with the police. Presumably the new police and crime commissioner will have to decide if he wants to hand people over to these secret panels for “justice” rather than the courts.

  6. Richard Taylor Article author

    Cambridge’s Volunteer Restorative Justice Practitioners have been registered with the “restorative justice council”. Their entries on the public register can be viewed online.

    At the time of writing the names of those registered as Cambridge City Council volunteers are:

    • Hannah Coding
    • Marie Georghiou
    • Linda Ann Holmes
    • John Ide
    • Deborah Jeakins
    • Simonetta Macellari
    • Diane Morrison
    • Wangari Njiiri
    • Binnie Pickard
    • Helen Sims-Williams
    • Catherine Squire
    • Caroline Steer

    They are all registered as “associates” with the following “fields of expertise”:

    * Community
    * Criminal Justice
    * Youth Justice

  7. Richard Taylor Article author

    At the Community Safety Partnership meeting on 30 April 2013 Cllr Bick explained that the panels were not operating because the police were yet to agree if, and under what circumstances, they would refer cases to them.

    The police representative at the meeting, Chief Inspector Sloan did not appear keen to refer any cases to the panels, but on being pushed, apparently reluctantly agreed to pass the message back to the police that the council wanted them to refer people to the panels.

    During Cambridge City Council’s full council on the 23rd of May 2013 leader of the Labour group, Cllr Herbert, cited the Neighbourhood Resolution Panels as an example of a project the Liberal Democrats had announced but failed to deliver following long delays.

  8. Richard Taylor Article author

    The papers for the 29 October 2013 Cambridge Community Safety Partnership meeting state:

    he Neighbourhood Resolution Panel Co-ordinator, working within the Safer Communities Section, met with neighbourhood policing team sergeants at Parkside Police Station and delivered weekly presentations to the reactive and neighbourhood policing teams during August and September in order to promote the scheme and to inform staff of the relevant processes and procedures. By the end of September, three referrals had been received from the police, with two further referrals from ASB officers. Work is continuing to promote the scheme with a view to recruiting further volunteers in the near future in order to increase capacity. The scheme is now using the E-CINS database to manage workflow and to enable volunteer facilitators to access and share sensitive information in a secure way. Volunteers attended a refresher training course in July run by Restorative Solutions and in September they attended a full day training course on personal safety and lone working. The Co-ordinator met with professors at the Institute of Criminology and with a representative from Victim Support to discuss the scheme and to encourage positive working relationships.

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