Restorative Justice programme tackling ASB on public transport celebrates successful first year.
A scheme putting young vandals to work repairing damage they have caused on public transport in Birmingham has celebrated a successful first year.
The Restorative Justice pilot project was launched by Birmingham Youth Offending Service and the Restorative Justice and encourages young people to recognise the harm their anti-social behaviour causes.
A total of 32 youngsters aged between 10 and 18 years old from across Birmingham took part, cleaning up vandalised buses at National Express West Midlands’ Birmingham Central bus garage. In that time none have re-offended on public transport and just two have re-offended at all – a rate of 8% which compares favourably with the national average for young people of around 32%.
NXWM was the victim in 38 out of 40 cases and loses approximately £1 million a year through criminal damage and loss of services because buses have to be withdrawn for repairs. Peter Coates, managing director of National Express UK Bus, said: “The Safer Travel Partnership’s Restorative Justice Project has been hugely successful and is very popular with all of our staff.
“The young people meet the staff who work hard to tackle their vandalism and see the face of their victim in a way they have not in the past. Similarly, our staff love this project. They see the youngsters who vandalise our vehicles being made to pay for their damage. It is also very encouraging that none of those who have been involved in the project have been caught vandalising our buses again.”
Cllr Kath Hartley, Centro lead member for Putting Passengers First Committee, said: “I am delighted this scheme is proving such a success as it gets young people to learn to take responsibility for their actions.
“Parents of offenders are also very supportive of the scheme as it means their children can learn and move on with their lives without the authorities having to resort to prosecution, often resulting in a criminal record.”
The scheme has cost a total of £22,000 and has been funded by Centro through the Transport Regeneration Fund, with match funding by Birmingham Youth Offending Service. The scheme is cost effective – for every £1 spent on restorative justice the criminal justice system saves £9. Funding is now being sought to pay for a permanent co-ordinator for the scheme working in a part-time capacity.