What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative Justice (RJ) is a way in which, Cheshire Police deal
with conflict between a victim and an offender. It’s also commonly
known as common sense policing.
What happens between the victim and the offender?
Restorative Justice involves the offender and victim
meeting in an arranged situation to discuss:
- the crime
- why it took place
- how it made them feel and it encourages the offenders to
acknowledge the impact of their crime, as well as allowing them the
opportunity to make to make reparation (i.e. an apology).
It is not a soft option, many offenders find it
difficult to take responsibility and face up to the impact of their
crimes. Listening to the victims’ perception of the crime can also
be an uncomfortable experience for the offender.
When is it used?
It is most commonly used to deal with minor offences for
example, shoplifting, criminal damage and minor
assault. The offender may have to:
- remove graffiti and repair any
property that they have damaged
- meet with shop managers to hear how their
crime (i.e. theft) has affected the business and employees
- write a letter of apology to the
When faced with their victim the effects of their crime have a
large impact on the offender. This can reduce the
chance of them becoming a prolific offender later in life.
Benefits of Restorative Justice
Benefits to the victim
||Benefits to the offender
||Benefits of Restorative Justice
|Make an offender realise how the crime has
affected the victim's life
offer an explanation.
||Puts the need of
the victim first.
|Find out information to help put the crime
behind them - for example, why the offender targeted them. Acts as
closure for the victim.
||Opportunity to apologise.
||Gives victims a greater voice in the
Criminal Justice System.
|Ask for reparation, either financial or a
||Opportunity to repair the harm done as a
result of the crime
||Finds positive solutions to crime
|Reduces Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
||Often reduces re-offending
||Allows victims to receive an explanation and
more meaningful reparation or offenders.
||Makes offenders accountable for their
||Shows the community that offenders are
making up for their actions.
||Can in some cases, motivate offenders to
stop their criminal behaviour.
- In 2010, 14% of all crimes in Cheshire which
were solved ended with a Restorative Justice
settlement, bringing the offender and victim into direct
- 85% of victims involved in Restorative Justice
are happy with the approach, 78%
said they would recommend it to other
Cheshire Police and Restorative Justice
Officers and Police Staff in Cheshire have three
different Restorative Justice processes (direct, indirect
and conferencing) which they can utilise. Having these multiple
options available allows Cheshire Police to choose the most
appropriate course of action, in order to give the best possible
outcome for the victim and to change the behaviour of the
Direct Restorative Justice
This involves face to face contact between the victim, their
supporters and the offender. When this method is used officers and
staff bring the people together, record the agreed decisions and
make sure the offender carries them out. For instance if the
offender is required to clean up an area which has been vandalised,
the Police Officer or Police Community Support Officer will oversee
Indirect Restorative Justice
This relies on written contact between the victim and offender.
It is used when the victim does not want to be involved in a face
to face meeting.
Conferencing Restorative Justice
This involves the offender coming face to face with several
members of the community who have been affected by his or her
behaviour. For instance someone who had defaced an area with
graffiti might meet a group of people from the area and hear what
they felt about it.