Five projects which help to cut crime in the Yorkshire and the Humber region have won national recognition for their work.
They were nominated for the Howard League for Penal Reform’s Community Programmes Awards, which are aimed at encouraging public and government support for successful community sentences.
The awards were presented by HRH Princess Royal at the Howard League’s Community Sentences Cut Crime conference in London.
Adult Triage Hull, run by Humberside Police, was the winner of the ‘police-led diversion – adults’ category and was also nominated in the ‘women’ category.
The process involves diverting adults in trouble away from the criminal justice system and on to programmes which tackle the root causes of their offending. Programmes include education, training, health advice and addressing substance misuse.
Hull University evaluates the project, and early results indicate very low reoffending rates.
Neighbourhood Resolution Panel Bradford, run by the West Yorkshire Probation Community Rehabilitation Company, was the winner of the ‘restorative justice’ category.
The panel brings together victims, criminal justice professionals and people who have committed offences to agree what action should be taken to deal with certain types of low-level crime and disorder.
It has used this approach with kerb-crawlers, police complaints, neighbour disputes, low-level hate incidents and, most recently, with low-level crime and anti-social behaviour associated with sporting events such as the Tour de France.
The panel has a 90 per cent victim satisfaction rate. Of the people who had offended, only 3 per cent have gone on to commit further crimes.
The North Lincolnshire Multi-Agency Harmful Sexual Behaviour Project, overseen by North Lincolnshire Youth Offending Service, was the winner of the ‘community sentences – young people’ category.
The service is for children aged 10 and above who have been convicted of or alleged to have exhibited concerning sexual behaviour. As well as planning interventions to address the behaviour, it provides support, advice and guidance to parents and carers.
The Empowering Project in North Lincolnshire, run by the Crosby Employment Bureau, was nominated in the ‘education, training and employment’ category.
The programme helps people who have been caught up in the criminal justice system to find work. Involving a range of local services, it helps them to overcome barriers to employment such as problems with accommodation, benefits and debt, confidence, health issues and transport.
The project’s success is mostly due to training volunteer ‘navigators’, who themselves have a history of offending, to use their experiences and empower clients to move forward and make the right choices for themselves and their families.
REMEDI, a charity based in South Yorkshire, was shortlisted in the ‘restorative justice’ category. Set up with only one member of staff in 1996, it now employs 75 staff, 200 sessional workers and 150 volunteers who work in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Northumberland.
REMEDI facilitates restorative justice across the full spectrum of offences and is contracted nationally by Victim Support to provide restorative interventions for their homicide teams.
Catryn Yousefi, Programme Manager at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The very best schemes in the UK are honoured in the Community Programmes Awards and I am delighted that these projects are among them.
“The awards are aimed at increasing public protection by recognising outstanding community programmes which help to reduce the seriousness and frequency of reoffending – something these projects clearly demonstrate.
“Our winning projects are shining beacons of effective practice. They show that community sentences change lives.”