Labour have announced a new pledge to create Community and Victim Payback Boards (CVPBs) to strengthen community and victim involvement in community sentences, get tough on antisocial behaviour and stop more serious reoffending at source.
Labour’s plan to get tough on low-level offending through unpaid work will begin to rebuild communities’ trust in the criminal justice system, after a decade of court closures – including Ormskirk’s and 20 others in the North West, criminal case delays and the decline in community payback under the Conservatives. The new orders and CVPBs will help to reassure communities that crimes are being punished, offenders are being rehabilitated and communities are being paid back.
Community and Victim Payback Boards will be operated by Community Safety Partnerships (or other existing similar local infrastructure), with guidance from the Criminal Justice System, the Local Authority or other key agencies.
CVPBs will operate through existing local infrastructure at no additional cost and create a new level of involvement for community leaders and victims of crime in deciding what unpaid work offenders must undertake, such as removing graffiti, clearing wasteland or re-decorating community centres.
Local data will be published on the nature of unpaid work offenders and showing whether community payback has been completed so that communities and victims can be sure that justice is being served and offenders are paying areas back for their crimes.
Labour’s announcement comes as the party released new research which showed that:
- The number of community sentences handed down in the North West region fell by 24% in between 2016 and 2020
- The number of hours of community payback hours being completed by offenders as part of community sentences in the North West region fell by 286,602 in the last five years
- The number of hours of existing community payback being completed by offenders has been falling in every region in nearly every year since 2016
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“After 12 years of Conservative government, which has seen record criminal case delays, police officers disappearing from our streets, police station closures and court sell-offs, communities have no faith that the criminal justice system is keeping their communities safe from crime.
“Community payback can stop more serious reoffending, but Judges have stopped handing it out because this soft-on-crime Conservative Government cannot be trusted to make sure offenders pay back for their crimes.
“Labour will put security at the heart of its contract with the British people. We’ll put communities and victims at the heart of how offenders repay society and make sure justice is being seen to be delivered locally, including here in West Lancashire.”