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Reading Community Court is the Winner of the National Crimebeat Awards for 2020

Alert message sent 05/06/2020 10:59:00

Information sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police


Thames Valley Police is delighted to announce that the Reading Community Court programme is the winner of the National Crimebeat Awards for 2020 - Adult Led Category.  

In mid-February, Reading Community Court, a restorative justice programme, became one of the top three finalists in the Adult Led Category of the National Crimebeat Awards for 2020.
Nominations for this award came from across 55 counties in England and Wales.

The National Crimebeat is the youth crime prevention charity of the High Sheriffs’ Association in England and Wales. The National Crimebeat awards exist to give recognition to the most innovative and successful crime prevention projects carried out by young people.

Superintendent Nicholas John, Commander of Reading LPA, said: “I would like to congratulate all colleagues and volunteers involved in the Reading Community Court programme for this huge achievement, particularly as it is the first time that any project in Berkshire has received this award. The success of this programme is proof of their devotion and support towards the youth of our community.”

Mary Riall, Berkshire High Sheriff, said: “I am delighted to hear of the success of the Reading Community Court. This is an ambitious project, which has required great commitment from youth volunteers and police officers. Their combined efforts have successfully impacted youth crime in the community and they fully deserve this award.”

What is the Reading Community Court programme?
Reading Community Court is a restorative justice programme run by TVP Reading aimed at supporting first time young offenders and their victims of crime.

Volunteers aged 14-25 hold peer-led hearings with offenders aged 10-17 and any victims of crime who wish to attend. The purpose of the hearings is to establish what harm has been caused and how it can be put right.

The Reading Community Court was initiated in 2018 to expand upon restorative justice principles. It only deals with young people who have admitted their crime and who are willing to engage with a restorative outcome. The programme does not determine innocence or guilt nor is it there to be a substitute for criminal courts. The Reading Community Court will hear a range of cases from minor assaults, to simple thefts and low level criminal damage.

Both the respondent and victim party are invited to attend the hearing which takes place at a safe and secure location. Each party has their own independent advocate who is there to support them through the process.

The hearing’s panel is made up of volunteers of similar ages to the respondent, to ensure it is reflective of the respondent they are holding to account. The volunteer group is quite diverse, ranging from university students to local residents of Reading.

The respondent and the victim party will have an opportunity to have their say before the panel considers this information and determines a suitable outcome and whether any further safeguarding or support is needed. First and foremost the hearing must consider the child respondent they are dealing with as a child. Where the purpose of the hearing is to hold that child to account, their needs and support to stay out of trouble must be considered as the priority. 

In line with our restorative aims, the hearings and any outcomes must also seek to educate the young person about any harm caused by their actions to the victim, community or their family, provide an opportunity for that young person to show what they have learnt and to restore any damaged relationships.

Reading Community Court holds weekly evening sessions during academic term times. The court is run out of a non-police location to provide some independence to the process and to add another facet to the community element of the programme.

Reading Community Court has now heard 32 cases, only 5 of which have reoffended, giving a rate of 15.6% compared to the UK national average reoffending rate of 40.9%. 

Media release available here:
https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/news/thames-valley/news/2020/june/01-06-2020/reading-community-court--winner-of-the-national-crimebeat-awards-2020/
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Cristina Bratu (Police, Comms, HQ)

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