Facing the issue of Anti Social Behaviour
A project that provides an innovative approach to resolving low level crime and anti-social behaviour has been extended thanks to additional funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).
Started as a six month pilot, the Restorative Justice (RJ) project in Birmingham is a partnership between Midland Heart and West Midlands Police.
The RJ process encourages individuals to work together to resolve their conflicts early on by bringing them face to face to talk through their issues in a calm environment.
It can help address a range of issues including neighbour disputes, noise nuisance complaints and verbal abuse. The process gives victims the chance to tell perpetrators the real impact of the Anti Social Behaviour (ASB), to get answers to their questions and to receive an apology. It also gives the perpetrators a chance to understand the impact of their actions and to do something to repair the harm they have caused.
Highly successful since its inception, the project has led to numerous positive outcomes including verbal apologies being given, a reduction in anti-social behaviour in local communities and improved communication between residents.
Midland Heart customer Alicia said: “Restorative Justice is really good. I had a problem with my neighbour, but thanks to the project the conflict has now been resolved. It's had a positive effect as we speak now and live in peace.”
The project has reported good results to date with a 94% satisfaction rate where a face to face meeting has taken place and no further reports of ASB in Midland Heart cases that have been closed.
Currently covering the local policing units of Birmingham West, Central and Birmingham North the new funding will extend the scope of the project from Summer 2016 to cover the whole of Birmingham and will now run till the end of March 2017.
Nigel Collumbell, Head of Neighbourhoods at Midland Heart said: “Through providing a safe and facilitated environment in which to explore thoughts and feelings, the Restorative Justice project aims to promote improved relations between individuals, leading to a reduction in complaints from tenants and more peaceful lives being gained for residents.
“By bringing individuals together to communicate in this way we are helping them to resolve issues and problems in a positive and empowering manner.”
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “Restorative Justice is an innovative and effective approach to dealing with low-level crime and anti-social behaviour.
“For the victims, it can bring about closure and understanding on their terms and with their consent, while for the offenders, it can stir feelings of remorse, sorrow and a desire to change their ways.
“I am delighted to fund an extension of this particular project across the whole of Birmingham and I’m confident we will see further reductions in crime and anti-social behaviour as a result.”
The partnership is being project managed by Birmingham Social Housing Partnership (BSHP) from June with support being given by hosting additional RJ officers from Pioneer Group and Friendship Housing Associations.