Community Payback Justice Seen Justice Done

A DVD has been launched to coincide with Inside Justice Week 2010, to show how Community Payback operates in Stoke-on-Trent.

Each year over 140,000 hours of Community Payback are completed by offenders as part of community sentences given to them in Magistrates and Crown Courts. This equates to about £812,000 of services provided to communities as offenders pay back for the crimes that they have committed.

The DVD has been produced as part of the Justice Seen Justice Done campaign, organised by the city council’s Neighbourhood Justice Coordinator, Graeme Drayton, along with Her Majesty’s Court Service, Staffordshire & West Midlands Probation Trust, and Staffordshire Police.

The DVD features explanations from a local magistrate about how Community Payback sentences are administered and how breaches are dealt with, and from a probation officer who provides examples of the sort of work that is carried out by offenders as part of this scheme.

There are also accounts from members of the community who have benefited from the work done by offenders and from an offender themselves detailing what the effect of this sentence has been on him. Overall, the message is that this is not a soft option as an alternative to prison and this it produces worthwhile benefits for both offenders and for the community.

Members of the community have the right to know what it means when an offender is given a Community Payback order, the importance of justice in Stoke-on-Trent being visible in this way cannot be overstated.
It is only right that when people offend against communities that there should be some kind of service provided to those they have wronged. If public confidence in the Criminal Justice System is to be maintained, it is vital that people are able to see for themselves how, where and when Community Payback is being carried out.

The DVD is going to be distributed widely throughout Stoke-on-Trent and can be viewed below.

For more information about Community Payback and to find out how the public can nominate a project to be undertaken by offenders, people can telephone the Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust on 0121 248 2688 or they can access information online by visiting Staffordshire & West Midlands Probation Trust using the link below.

Stoke-on-Trent Cleaner And Greener

Stoke-on-Trent is set to be a cleaner and greener city by this time next week. Stoke-on-Trent City Council is organising the biggest citywide clean up operation in its history next Thursday & Friday (22 & 23 April) for the city’s Cleaning and Greening Days.

Over 500 people will be taking to the streets of Stoke-on-Trent over the 2 days to clean up streets, parks, and open spaces. Around 80 locations around the city have been identified and will be targeted.

Over 300 staff from the city’s environmental services team and the Future Jobs Fund will be joined by over 250 community and private sector volunteers from organisations such as Michelin, Seddons, JCB, Amey, Highways Agency, Community payback, Schools, Groundworks, Love Stoke, Staffordshire Fire Authority, P.M.training, Business in the Community, CSV , Youth action, British waterways, YMCA & Local Community groups/Residents Associations. Together, they will be working from 7am until 7pm to clean up the city’s streets, parks, open spaces and town centres.

Chief Executive John van de Laarschot will be visiting one of the clean up sites on the day, and said, ‘This is about making Stoke-on-Trent a place that can stand up and say “Ëœwe have clean and green streets for everyone in the city’ and showing the community we are committed to keeping things that way. It should be the start of a series of events that gives people confidence in the city council to keep the city looking good and making sure we care for our environment. Once Cleaning and Greening Day is done, we want to hear from people who have spotted areas around the city that do need tidying up. We want people getting involved, telling us where their hotspots are and what needs to be done.

We want people to feel part of this and take real pride in their city by volunteering to help our teams and working with us to address the real problem areas where they are. Residents now need to do their part to make sure Stoke-on-Trent stays clean and green. We need people to stop throwing litter out of cars, stop getting rid of sweet wrappers, cigarette ends and crisp packets when they are walking on a pavement, and stop fly tipping because they think it’s the easy way to get rid of waste. We can’t afford to let this keep happening if we want to clean up our city. The city council can only enforce what we see, it’s up to the people who live and work here to change the culture and take responsibility for their actions when it comes to their environment. Our main aim is to get the city council, all our partners and the community working together to make the city a better place.’

MP applauds community payback scheme!

By Pits’n’Pots Reporter.

Rob Flello MP

Rob Flello MP

Stoke-on-Trent South MP Rob Flello has today applauded a Safer City Partnership initiative aimed at making offenders pay back to the community for their crimes. As part of the partnership’s respect week in Meir, offenders will be made to clear up play equipment in Plantation Park, Meir.

From Monday 18th to Friday 22nd May 2009 during Respect week in Meir North, offenders will be painting the play equipment in Plantation Park, Stansmore Road, Meir, Stoke-on-Trent as part of their Community Payback. Nationally, over 5 million hours of compulsory work is done by offenders each year as an element of a court order. In Staffordshire alone, nearly 140,000 hours were carried out during 2006/07. This work included clearing church yards, litter removal, repairing park benches, repairing and redecorating community centres and removing graffiti.

As part of the ‘Justice seen, Justice done’ Home Office campaign, it has been highlighted that community members have the right to know when and where Community Payback is being carried out in their local areas as well as being provided with information that will allow them to make nominations should they so wish. All nominations can be made through the Staffordshire Probation website, www.staffordshireprobation.org.uk or be telephoning 01785 223416.

Rob Flello, MP for Stoke-on-Trent South said:
“I’m delighted that the Safer City Partnership and Staffordshire Probation Service have arranged for offenders to tidy up this park in Meir. I have been pushing for a long time for this kind of visible punishment for the offenders that make residents’ lives a misery. It’s giving residents a say into how things are put right. Justice seen is justice and I think this sort of initiative will help rebuild peoples’ faith in the justice system.”

Brian Jones, Chairman of Wood Farm Residents Association said:
“I think the community payback scheme is an excellent idea. 99 per cent of the people I have spoken to have also said they also think it is a great scheme. The CCTV cameras on the plantation that the residents’ association worked for, for such a long time, are now in place and people are not willing to put up with nuisances any more. We want to see visible justice, and community payback does this.”

Vote for eyesores you want criminals to clean

By Pits’n’Pots Reporter.

Residents are being given the chance to vote for vandalised, litter-strewn and overgrown parts of the city they want criminals to clean-up to pay back their offences.
Five eyesore areas of the city have been identified for the pioneering Community Payback campaign, backed by Stoke-on-Trent City Council. The initiative is designed to ensure criminals ordered to carry out unpaid community work by courts make a visible and positive contribution to improving local neighbourhoods.
Residents can vote for one of the following blighted sites:
  • High Street, Goldenhill ““ a semi-rural area sandwiched between Elgood Street and Heathside Lane which is overgrown with vegetation and prone to fly-tipping, litter and neglect. Offenders will overhaul and clean up the area, making it more pleasant for local residents.
  • Fenton Garage, Park Lane ““ an area that attracts graffiti, criminal damage and fly-tipping. Offenders will remove graffiti and rubbish, cut back overgrown shrubs and undertake site maintenance and painting.
  • Uttoxeter Road, Normacot ““ an area of alleyways and land subject to repeated fly-tipping. Offenders will clear up the site, making it safer and cleaner.
  • Northwood and Birches Head ““ an area which suffers litter problems, where pavements are too small for more bins. Offenders will clean pathways and cut back overgrown hedges to increase community access.
  • Berryhill ““ an area which experiences vandalism and litter problems. Offenders will remove all rubbish and clean up the site, while the police tackle individuals who are causing the problems.
Councillor Joan Bell, portfolio holder for community safety and neighbourhood management, said: “This is the first time city residents can directly have a say on the type of work undertaken by those who break the law.
“Area officers, located in the community, have identified five long-standing problem sites across the city which residents are concerned about. The area which attracts the most votes will be tackled first, with an intensive two-week blitz. This vote is a one-off opportunity, and I urge as many residents as possible to have their say. After work on the most popular site has taken place, other blighted areas of the city will also be addressed on a systematic basis, and residents can put forward further areas they’d like to see tackled.”
The Community Payback initiative is part of a national “ËœJustice Seen Justice Done’ campaign, which is managed locally by Staffordshire Probation. The scheme is designed to give demanding punishments to criminals who receive up to 300 hours community sentences. Offenders must wear high-visibility jackets while carrying out the work to make sure residents are aware of the work they are doing.
John Cartlidge, Staffordshire Probation’s Community Payback scheme manager, said: “This campaign is to demonstrate to the public that community sentences are not “Ëœsoft options’ and to ensure that the benefits are for the community rather than the offender.
“More than 2.4 million hours of unpaid work has been carried out by offenders on behalf of communities and charitable organisations within Stoke-on-Trent, but the majority of residents are unaware of this.
“It is important for residents to see offenders being punished and repaying the local community, but it is also important for offenders to engage in practical work within their local community and to acknowledge that there are consequences if they choose to commit crime. By tidying and improving specific sites, it is hoped offenders will take pride in their work and appreciate that they can make a huge difference to the local environment.”
Residents can cast their vote on which of the five sites they want to see tackled by visiting www.direct.gov.uk/communitypayback or calling 01785 231737. The closing date for voting is 24 April, and work will start on the winning scheme in early June.