Wiltshire’s Restorative Justice team have been rewarded for their hard work after being named the “Police Support Volunteer Team of the Year” at the annual South West Citizens in Policing Awards in Poole.
Volunteers and staff from the service were joined at the awards ceremony by Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Russell Holland, Chief Constable Kier Pritchard and Assistant Chief Constable Dave Minty.
The team at Restorative Together has been funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Wiltshire for the past six years and the scheme is managed by Victim Services manager, Julia Gay.
Restorative Justice brings those harmed by crime or conflict together with those responsible. It offers victims of crime a level of resolution and possible closure and can help the harmer to recognise and understand how their behaviour affects others.
The Restorative Justice facilitators are all volunteers who are highly trained to work with those harmed and their harmers to help all parties move on in a positive way.
Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson thinks the award is well deserved:
“Restorative Justice is not only shown to reduce re-offending but it also leaves the majority of victims who take part more satisfied with the justice system as a whole.
“Our Restorative Justice team work hard to make sure the victim and the offender can get to a point where they can either meet or exchange letters and talk about what’s happened from their perspective and come to some sort of mutual understanding
“Some people might see Restorative Justice as a soft option, but what I’m interested in is results. If going through this process means it reduces the chance of re-offending or makes it easier for a victim to come terms with what’s happened to them, then this should be the priority.
“I’d like to congratulate them on the award as it shows the dedication and skill they have to make this vital programme a success”
Whilst restorative practice is most commonly associated with the criminal justice system, it is increasingly being used in schools, children’s services, workplaces, hospitals and communities.
The Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, Kier Pritchard, recognises the importance of the role Restorative Justice plays in the criminal justice system:
“It was a pleasure to join all of our nominees at the South West Volunteers award ceremony in Poole on Sunday and it was great to see the hard work of the Restorative Justice team being recognised.
“The process has been proven to reduce reoffending rates and it’s important that we put victims at the heart of what we do.
“This award shows the importance of how getting it right at the end of the criminal justice process can break the cycle of offending and I look forward to seeing the good work of the team continue to be successful.
“I’d like to thank all our volunteers and they should all be recognised for the effort that they provide for free to our police force”
For more information about Restorative Together including the referral process visit https://www.wiltshire-pcc.gov.uk/Horizon/restorative-justice/
Published Thursday 20 October 2022