Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Theresa May’s Community Remedy – Victim's Choose Offender's Punishment

Theresa May

Home Secretary, Theresa May, told the Daily Mail that last year 272,000 cautions were handed out for anti-social behaviour and the victims of these crimes were left feeling powerless as they were excluded from the process and received no form of reparation.

She is opting to change the law to empower the victims by allowing them to get some form of reparation.  Victims of low-level crimes, such as criminal damage, would get to choose from a “menu” of punishment options that would include a form of restorative justice. This “community remedy” could see victims receiving reparation for the damages caused, for example, replacing a smashed window; if the victim does not want something directly related to them done, they could opt for the offender to do work in the community. If the offender does not accept the punishment, they would face court proceedings. The Home Secretary hopes this will boost the introduction of police and crime commissioners, when the first elections take place on November 15th.

The Home Secretary will also announce her own review of the Human Rights Act, stating it can be replaced by a British bill of rights and responsibilities. However, this may clash with the government’s existing commission on a bill of rights that does not wish to replace the Human Rights Act.

May will also mention her intention to opt out of areas of EU police and justice co-operation, this move has been criticised by policy leaders and Liberal Democrats. She may opt out of the European arrest warrant, which is seen by police as one of the most successful instruments in European crime-fighting. Should the UK choose to opt out, they can always opt back in a later date.

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