It's pay back time for offenders

Police and Council unite to ensure lawbreakers repay local residents

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Hammersmith and Fulham Police’s Safer Neighbourhoods officers have joined forces with London Probation and London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Council in a new approach to rehabilitate offenders serving community orders.

Community Payback in London will see offenders doing unpaid work supervised by London Probation staff, alongside officers from College Park and Old Oak Safer Neighbourhoods team and staff from London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Council in a bid to repay local residents.

The unique partnership will see offenders tackling quality-of-life crimes and issues identified by people living and working in the area as the concerns that most affect their daily lives and feelings of security. Tasks will include removing graffiti and litter; pruning bushes and trees to improve visibility; and improving security by making footpaths safer.

As well as providing environmental improvements to local areas, the initiative provides offenders with essential life skills, which aim to prevent them from becoming involved in any further offences.

Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Heather Valentine, said “Safer Neighbourhoods teams aim to target the issues most affecting the public’s feelings of safety and security. Graffiti and litter can have a direct impact on perceptions of crime and by improving a few unsightly areas we can offer reassurance to local communities.

“Community Payback in London is a joint initiative which will see offenders making a real difference across London. We also hope the scheme will show them consequences of their criminal actions and of making the wrong choices in life. We wish to emphasise the importance and value of being a responsible member of the community with a clear message that they are also paying something back for some of the harm they have caused.”

Hazel Simmonds, assistant director for Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s safer communities division, welcomed the Community Payback programme.

“This programme provides added assistance for the council in its bid to make the borough a cleaner, greener, safer place to be. These offenders will be able to make a difference in our local area, while providing restitution for the damage they have caused.”

London Probation’s Chief Officer, David Scott, said “Working in partnership is a way forward for London Probation. We are integrating our expertise to help make communities safer for local residents and to help offenders put something back into the areas in which they live.”

March 15, 2006