The move to RJ was fully endorsed by Peter Fahy, GMP’s Chief Constable. Under his leadership, the key challenge for GMP was to implement awell-proven but radically different method that would need a major cultural shift to be successful following a decade of performance targets. He was also conscious that while the RJ approach requires the same level of work and delivers better outcomes, it may result in fewer arrests and fewer sanctioned detections. The decision to go with RJ carried the risk that, at a time of budget cuts and following documented target successes, GMP would be embarking on an innovation the benefits of which could be hard to quantify.
....For victims of crime, RJ helps produce an outcome they can control. It offers a choice; not all victims want to go to court but they do want their questions answered. Victim satisfaction levels are 96% for RJ interventions, where previously they were around 78%.
Currently some 3-4% of all crime across GMP is now dealt with in a restorative way with around 5,000 RJ interventions over the past year. For a new programme, this indicates very strong buy-in from officers.
Community groups have been very supportive of the RJ policy and are approaching GMP to see if they too can engage in the RJ process. It was unexpected that people would want to get involved and take on some of the work.
Relations between GMP and schools have also benefited. There are now more RJ interventions and fewer arrests of children of school age, police are invited to schools more often and some schools are willing to pay for a dedicated officer. The increased use of RJ also means fewer perpetrators of petty crimes, such as stealing sweets, end up with a criminal record yet they do subsequently change their behaviour for the better.
Many officers across GMP are now passionate about RJ. Analysis shows that re-offending levels are low, and officers describe the policy as “high impact”, “very powerful”, “it works” and that it is “a proven part of the toolkit”. One officer noted “I feel morally it’s the right thing to do. I haven’t always felt that”.