More than 1,000 Cambridgeshire criminals have apologised to victims in new scheme

MORE than 1,000 criminals have been asked to apologise and make amends to their victims since April - freeing up Cambridgeshire police officers to tackle more serious offences.

Officers introduced restorative justice, where minor offenders meet their victims, earlier this year. As a result, 870 crimes have been solved, around two-and-a-half per cent of all crimes in the county, and the initiative has saved 8,000 hours of policing hours.

The increase of policing hours were used to uncover drugs offences, which saw a rise of nearly 50 per cent on last year because of improved detection.

In one occasion, two colleagues were asked to say sorry and shake hands after a fight and in another, a youth offender picked up litter in front of his friends after causing �100 of damage to a sports pavilion.

The update in restorative justice figures came as chief constable Simon Parr announced Cambs police were ahead of their programme to cut �17million over five years to meet Government targets to save �1.14million in 2010/1. Through reductions in overtime and other initiatives, �1.6million was saved.

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After a period of heavy investment to drive up performance in the county, he also revealed plans to cut �3million from senior and middle management staff as Mr Parr believes “the time is right to reduce those levels of supervision.”

The Cambridgeshire Police Authority, who are responsible for setting the amount of money police get from council tax, will decide whether taxpayers will face an extra burden in 2012-3 or take a �1.5million Government grant next year and push 2013-4 council taxes even higher,

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Ruth Rogers, chair of the authority, said: “On the face of it, this looks like an easy decision. However, this grant is for one year only whereas a council tax increase provide ongoing funding.

“This leaves us with the dilemma, raise the council tax from April 2012 or take the grant and leave the new Police and Crime commissioner with the decision to raise council tax significantly the next year.”

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