(2) what research his Department has undertaken in connection with the high-visibility community payback scheme.
Probation areas have been required to promote the unpaid work community sentence as Community Payback since 2005. This has been done in a variety of ways including the use of signs at Community Payback work sites and on vehicles. In addition probation areas have also worked to generate local and national publicity in order to increase public awareness of the millions of hours worked by offenders to make reparation for the crimes and to improve local communities. To further increase visibility and public confidence the use of distinctive clothing, to be worn by offenders sentenced to Community Payback, was introduced on 1 December 2008. This followed the review, ‘Engaging Communities in Fighting Crime’, which proposed that community payback should be made increasingly visible. A survey of members of the public conducted as part of the review found that:
90 per cent. agreed that all punishments for crime should involve some payback to the community;
77 per cent. agreed that people should be informed about when and where the work would be carried out; and
a strong majority wanted work under community sentencing to be made more visible.
The number of hours worked by offenders and the number of Community Payback work projects on which high visibility clothing is worn is recorded by the National Offender Management Service and in March over 400,000 hours of Community Payback were undertaken by offenders wearing the distinctive clothing.
Community Payback has featured in the recent ‘Justice Seen, Justice Done’ campaign where the public were able to have their say on work offenders carry out in 54 local authority areas. The Community Payback work projects nominated will be announced in the near future. Further work will also be undertaken to determine the level of public awareness of Community Payback.
The use of high-visibility clothing by offenders undertaking community payback was introduced on 1 December 2008. Implementation of this policy has been monitored by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). The overwhelming majority of the offenders comply with this requirement. The number of hours worked by offenders and the number of community payback work projects on which high visibility clothing is worn are recorded by NOMS. Data are available for the period December 2008 to March 2009 and are shown in the following table.
Number of projects Hours worked December 2,566 210,974 January 2,538 321,853 February 2,422 326,618 March 2,938 401,680
Number of projects