A new ‘immediate justice’ scheme that forces the perpetrators of anti-social behaviour to pay back their communities for wrongdoing is putting Derbyshire on the map.
Angelique Foster, Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner, launched the Derbyshire Action Against Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) plan last summer to boost the successful work already being carried out to drive down ASB.
Proactive enforcement patrols were swiftly initiated in every local authority district and the city to deliver the strong and visible policing presence the public expects.
Derbyshire is now believed to be the only area of the country so far to be integrating the two ASB pilot schemes to maximum effect by ensuring perpetrators identified during hotspot patrols receive fast ‘community payback’ as punishment for their behaviour.
Since the Immediate Justice scheme launched, 148 referrals have been received by restorative services charity Remedi, which has been commissioned to deliver the Immediate Justice service for the county. This is the highest figure in the country.
Referrals are increasing month on month, with 56 received in December 2023 compared to 13 in October 2023 – and the figures look set to rise.
Becky Clough, Hotspot Policing and Immediate Justice Manager for Derbyshire Constabulary, said: "It's brilliant to see the progress in referrals that we've made since the Immediate Justice scheme was introduced.
"We're also seeing that those who take part in the scheme are less likely to reoffend, which is a real positive for everyone involved and their communities.
"We will continue to build upon our work so far, to help those committing anti-social behaviour understand the effects of their actions and move them away from committing crime."
In one example, officers in Heanor intercepted two teenage boys engaging in ASB at Heanor Retail Park. Plain clothes police officers on patrol intercepted the teenagers and returned them to their homes. Both have been referred to the Immediate Justice scheme and will each complete 15 hours of reparative work such as litter picking.
In more good work, three young people were referred to the Immediate Justice scheme after plain clothes officers witnessed them committing ASB outside Heanor Police Station. A stop and search of the offenders recovered vaping devices.
Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster said: “Our Immediate Justice scheme is not only working well; it is doing exactly what it promised – making perpetrators face up to their actions quickly and give back to the communities they have harmed.
“All partners are working hard to make this initiative a success, recognising that ASB has a distressing and damaging impact on our communities and that the public deserves a tough, no-nonsense approach to problems. They have shown a united front and continue to exhaust all opportunities to bring the individuals responsible to justice.
“Elsewhere, forces have struggled to link the two pilots, which shows that here in Derbyshire our no-nonsense approach is working. And we will continue the hard work. It is imperative to me and the whole team that every possible action is taken to make the perpetrators of this type of behaviour accept that their action will not be tolerated and will have consequences. Those who persist in breaking the law and affect other residents with their bad behaviour will be made to repay the community for their action.”
The Commissioner has put together a dedicated team responsible for proactively identifying incidents which are appropriate for Immediate Justice outcomes.
A robust system has been put in place to allow police, youth justice colleagues and local authority partners to refer suitable individuals on to the scheme to provide reparation to their communities, most of which are caught during intense enforcement activity funded by the pilot.