DEVELOPING RESTORATIVE POLICING:
Using the evidence base to inform the delivery of restorative justice and improve engagement with victims
A report from the first phase of the Police Knowledge Fund project has now been published, entitled: ‘Developing Restorative Policing in Humberside, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire’. It reports on the development and progress in implementing requirements under the Victims’ Code to provide all victims of crime with information about restorative justice (RJ) and how victims can take part should they wish to do so. The first report is a result of a programme of interviews and focus groups across the three partner forces, working with senior police officers, police staff, Youth Offending teams and other specialist services. The report is available to download here.
“Image from Restorative Justice Council, not for reuse”
The research found that RJ is varied across the three forces in both its provision and its approach. The report identifies some of the key opportunities and challenges to delivering successful RJ initiatives: appropriate structures, sufficient awareness, cultural barriers and delivery processes, which are all highlighted as key considerations. The report explores the difficulties in tackling these vital issues and offers a number of potential recommendations which include:
- Encouraging police to make the ‘offer’, particularly to mention restorative justice as a possibility to victims;
- Encouraging decentralised sources of expertise within the police;
- Basing referral ‘hubs’ within the police;
- Providing leadership for culture change and awareness raising.
A second report, which outlines the findings of a comparative study of ‘Restorative Policing in Belgium and Northern Ireland’, will be published later this month (also as an occasional paper of the Centre for Criminological Research at the University of Sheffield accessible here).
The research team – which includes Professor Joanna Shapland and Dr Emily Gray at the University of Sheffield and Professor Adam Crawford and Daniel Burn at the University of Leeds – is currently in the final phase of the research fieldwork, evaluating the impact of pilots in each of the three police force areas. These pilots arose out of the recommendations from the first report and were subsequently negotiated and agreed with the policing partners. Once the fieldwork is completed in the spring and all the data analysed, the final report will be submitted to the funding bodies in the early summer 2017 for wider dissemination thereafter.