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Restorative Justice (Lancashire)

Volume 489: debated on Tuesday 17 March 2009

Lancashire police are among the best performing in the country and one of the leading forces nationally in developing restorative practices. Owing to the successes experienced in areas such as Lancashire, the Government want to see an extension of restorative programmes. To that end, we are currently working with interested groups, including the Restorative Justice Consortium, to develop a national victim-focused restorative justice strategy for adult offenders.

I warmly welcome my hon. Friend’s support for the pioneering developments in Lancashire, which include a peer pilot project for younger people. Will the Minister tell me whether the Government have made an assessment of the impact of this project, particularly on reducing antisocial behaviour among young people, and will he tell me how best practice from the project can be disseminated to benefit my constituents in Blackpool?

Peer panels, to which my hon. Friend refers, are a Nacro-led project. An independent evaluation of them is now in its second year of a three-year pilot, so it is too early to judge the success. Having said that, there has been a lot of positive feedback and we have seen an increasing number of referrals from the police, youth offending teams, schools, primary care trusts and so forth. Any lessons we identify from the pilot will be fed back into the centre further to inform the development of the restorative justice strategy.