Victims of crime can ask to meet the criminal in a pioneering scheme coming to Cambridgeshire

Sir Graham Bright.

Sir Graham Bright. - Credit: Archant

Victims of crime in Cambridgeshire can now ask to meet their offender in specially structured restorative justice meetings.

The meetings have been proven to help repair the harm caused by the crime by allowing the victim to explain to the offender the impact of their actions.

It also enables the victim to understand why the offender behaved the way they did.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Graham Bright and Cambridgeshire Constabulary have pledged to work in partnership with other agencies to develop restorative justice in the county.

The move has seen Sir Graham appoint a not for profit group to provide advice and expertise in the early days of the scheme.

The Ministry of Justice has provided an initial two years’ funding.

Sir Graham said: “It is great to be able to yet again improve the experience for victims of crime in Cambridgeshire.

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“While I have asked the Constabulary to lead this work for me, they can’t do this alone and we have already been having conversations with existing restorative justice providers in the county about how we can work together.

“I was also keen to ensure we had access to real experts in this area which is why I appointed Restorative Solutions to support the Cambridgeshire approach.”

Deputy Chief Constable Alec Wood has championed the use of restorative justice in the Constabulary and says it could make a “real difference” to the lives of those who choose to get involved.

“The evidence is clear that victims of crime who take part in restorative conferences are more likely to be able to move on from the crime committed against them. Offenders are less likely to offend again – so it’s a win-win situation.”

Restorative justice is to be launched in Cambridgeshire in February.