It is remarkably cost-effective and can be implemented effectively. Increasingly, it commands the conﬁ dence of police forces and other key players in the criminal justice system. In the words of a senior police ofﬁ cer, RJ is not policing done to people but done with people. It returns to the ideal of policing as a part of a true community partnership.
Achieving support for RJ has been a marathon rather than a sprint, and the journey is far from over. Despite the Coalition Government’s commitment to making it available at all stages of the criminal justice system, fewer than one per cent of victims of crime have access to a RJ process. Success has been painstakingly achieved against a history of ambivalence and often scepticism about its value to the criminal justice system.
The criminal justice system is reaching a turning point in the UK. RJ could take off if it is given a concerted push by central government, the criminal justice system and partners, using models of best practice that already exist but are not yet universally applied.
Wider adoption and mainstreaming of RJ will mark an irreversible shift in how we think about justice and make it work for victims. RJ can also contribute to more effective and accountable policing, and can build public conﬁ dence in the criminal justice system. But is there the political will, leadership and rollout strategy to make it a policy priority? Or are we witnessing another false dawn?
In this paper, as part of my international research into capturing and promoting effective collaboration and partnership, I set out the main challenges that RJ now faces in the UK and recommend next steps.