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In the West: Can sing sorry really cut the likelihood of criminals
reoffending? We meet one woman who says meeting the boy who burgled or
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1714 seconds
End this week Sunday Politics and the West: The power of saying sorry.
We hear from politicians to think the way to cut reoffending rates is
to get to meet offenders meeting their victims face to face. But is
it a softer option than going to jail?
Welcome to the little prison cell that as the Sunday Politics. There
is no getting out until they answer our questions. Robert Buckland, a
Conservative MP for Swindon. He is a lawyer by trade and has been a
judge. And for Labour this week, Mark Dempsey. Welcome to your boss.
I want to talk about unemployment before we get started. Swindon has
been highlighted as a black spot. What has gone wrong? There is a
party of Swindon where we have a large number of young people who
are not in work. The report was produced last week, I haven't
meeting of the author's next Wigan Westminster to discuss ways about
how we can implement some of the ways they have suggested to reach
out to these young people. They are not the jobs. Swindon was the place
where there was lots of manufacturing. There was negative
mind you -- this is a big issue at the moment. We have seen youth
unemployment going up to its highest levels since records began.
The Conservatives in charge do not have a plan for the future economy
of Swindon. We saw that N-word Investment -- inward investment
earlier. We need to bring new jobs and businesses to the town as well.
We will come back to the economy a waiter.
If someone breaks into your house or vandalise is your car, how would
you feel about meeting him face to face? The idea is to reform
offenders by encouraging them to look the person they have harmed in
the eye. One woman said an apology helped her to deal with the trauma.
Your mind goes into a mess. It threw me completely. It frightens
me. One night, this woman was woken by Hanoi's and her back garden. She
went downstairs to find out she had been burgled. He then left her
bicycle here and then walked here. The child a broken was just 13
years old. Debbie agree to meet him face to face. She said she needed
answers and one wanted them to say sorry. It was quite an emotional
meeting because one of the things he took from me was an iPod.
Everybody has got one. Somebody had given it to me when I was actually
quite ill. And that has really just got to May. And when I said that,
he said, I am so sorry. I wish I could do something for you.
party was payback for a sentence is to pay their Benson her garden.
have only got a small garden but he will have to come back and face
make and realise if you do something you have to pay back.
According to the Ministry of Justice, when that an offender says
sorry there are less likely to commit another crime. So they want
to imply into a -- implement a programme where offenders says
sorry. We want to ensure more programmes for -- victims have a
chance to voice the impact a crime has on them. We want to increase
capacity to allow local areas to provide more effective
opportunities. Swindon has been working with young offenders for
some time. They have welcomed the move to extend the trial. We have
been doing this with young people For many years very successfully. I
believe there is a move now to including adults in the schemes. It
is long overdue. Swindon's new just as panels will be run by local
people and victims, leaving them to decide a profits sentences will
low-level crimes like graffiti. But while our police forces are facing
cuts to their budgets, warning of fewer police on our streets
fighting crime, there may be ever more victims like Debbie left with
a painful decision of whether to confront the demons face to face.
Simon Evans as the antisocial behaviour manager For Swindon
Borough Council. He was in charge at of bidding for the pilot area
for the new neighbourhood justice panels. Will come a long. What
would these justice panels do? are members of their community who
are trained in how to deliver adjust his conference. Boss young
people and adults who refer to them who have cost anti-social behaviour
are all finding. A defender who would not get to the courts as a
model to the panels and they will sign contracts. We have had
magistrates for hundreds of years. We have a very important role to
play in this. If people are coming to the panel's final low-level
offending and then they're not complying with these acceptable
behaviour contracts, we then have the courts and magistrates in the
background who can deliver them more formal punishments. That woman
talked about her eye. Being burgled. It meant a lot to her. -- hat iPod
player. That is the call for the professionals to decide where that
is going. It is about the victim meeting with the offender and
telling them how it has affected them as a person. It sounds all
very good. You are a barrister and you were a judge. Let me take you
back to the riots last summer when a lot of young people they thought
would get away with. The judges came down very hard. The select a
way community sentences and the banks are not straight away. You
could almost feel that shock and that writing stopped overnight. Is
harsher just is not the answer? we are comparing apples with an
than us. The riots were different and very serious incidents in
British public life. What Simon is talking about and what I have been
supporting is the sort of low-level crime that does cause real misery
for a lot of residents. And this initiative will give local no birds
control. A sense of ownership and a way to find solutions to problems
that have been harming them for too long. A will thus be seen as a soft
option? You know, it has a very important role to play. Where it
has been trial in the youth offending team in Swindon, it has
seen real results. We have seen a reduction of youth offending rates
and crimes. I think it has great opportunity. But the bigger picture
is that we have 16,000 police officers cut across the country and
I think that is something communities across London and the
country are worried about. I think that is a fair point. I do not
accept that. In Wiltshire we have a commitment to community pulsing.
Will show has been a well-managed police force. We have dedicated
police officers and Swindon. It is not right to make general comments
about police numbers when in fact it is about the effectiveness of
the use of resources. One of the schemes is us a lot of victims do
not want to take part. They do not want to see the young person who
made their life a misery. Certainly, when it comes to more serious
crimes, you cannot expect them to meet face to face. If there are
more serious crimes, members of the community sitting on these finals,
they will say this is too serious for this panel. We want to give us
back to the courts when it belongs. Does not make the for up -- the
victim feel good does it? research shows that 84% of victims
to go through the process are very satisfied with it. That is how weak
tell the community and get them involved in it. In her current
criminal justice system we do not to that at the moment. One of the
most effective methods as having the victim in front of the offender
and telling them how it has affected them.
The bulldozers have moved in to your full to raise up sink housing
estate into the ground. It seems to be a desperate measure to deal with
deprivation. Is the answer to rep these council estates down and
start again? -- to rat down? Every town has an estate like this.
Sometimes overlooked for decades. So what is the key to turning long-
term deprivation into a long-term improvement? In your fault and
extreme approach. Bill does think dozens of homes and starting again.
Sindh charges as having �10 million spent on it by the local housing
association. -- Saint Georges. are very interested in developing
the relationship we have with our lamb -- tenants. We hope to secure
long-term sustainable employment through this. But how can -- his
estate was built to replace slum housing. The council you want to
knock down and rebuild hundreds of homes. But until then, local people
are coming up with ways to improve the area. Historically it has been
quite a difficult community. But it seems to be coming together quite a
lot more. And there are more things going on. In Highbridge, the police
began by leading the way. It went from antisocial behaviour, drugs
misuse,. It is having the trust and confidence of the committee and you
have by having -- making sure that when they report something that you
deal with a positively in the way they wanted del West. Hear what the
police have started, the community has carried on and they are seeing
it as a real success story. These young people are spending half-term
improving their area. With the help of dedicated volunteers, like 74-
year-old Margaret. If they do jobs and they get points which are
turned to prizes and trips. The parents can also afford to sun and
so we take over. It makes me feel as if I am still useful. -- cannot
afford to take them. I feel very good about it. It helps the
environment around Highbridge. Despite shores of community spirit,
the problems on these estates remain very real. They are a long
way from becoming desirable realistic. -- real estate.
Will come along. Tell me about Arton Hill. The settlement of Arton
hell. The estate you look after. are part of the estate but we are
not legally responsible for the estate. Our own accountability it
as an independent organisation is to the people on the estate.
want to live their aspirations and life chances. We work with them on
anything that we think at the time is going to help. How does your
experience there translate to what may be done in other big estates
across the West Country? There is no single solution. Every estate
will have its own solution and will be based on the people that our
there. Also the agencies that they are there and how well they work
together. That will not be the same in a different estate. Millions of
pounds have been spent in the estate for over the years. There
are still very substantial problems there. There have been some good
things about the millions of pounds and some bad things about the
millions of pounds. So it is not just money? What is it then?
think it is the people. If they have hope and if you can connect
people to each other, then things will happen. I know that sounds
vague, but that is what works. the big council estates, where they
are a mistake? The important element for those big council
estates, I represent one of those in Swindon, there is a community
that still exists there. We have got our hands dirty in that
community to try and rebuild them. There are many things that can be
done. In one of the shopping centres in my mistake, it was left
Park finished by their redevelopment project in the area.
They got the developers and the council together. We got the idea
resurfaced. Not many people expected us to do that. There is
not much hope around at the moment. Not many jobs. Joanna hit on an
important point. Self-esteem will come from within from help. Some
were organisations and -- there are many organisations helping these
communities. That without the job opportunities, then it becomes
difficult. We are talking about youth unemployment. It has been a
long-running problem. There has been a dislocation... Definitely in
Swindon among other places. There has won a dislocation between
skills people are getting in school and the jobs. I would like to move
on. Joined-up has brought up the idea of not just throwing money at
these estates. I think it is a variety of solutions. In some areas
it has to be investment. The worry that I have is that some of those
regeneration schemes are stalling. We have seen the abolition of the
Regional Development Agencies. That regeneration is not happening and
we need to get that regeneration happening for the benefit of
communities. If you look around the estates, some people keep their
properties beautiful. Others let them go to rack and ruin. It seems
to me that it is the people, not the social problems. Hugely so. The
area that I represent, you will find that in the all parts of the
estate. They would regard themselves as part of a vibrant
community. There is a small minority who still need to be
addressed an adult. But I remain very optimistic that that can be
done. I remain upbeat. On that upbeat note, we have to say thank
you. There is never a dull weekend West
Country politics. Here is a round- up in just 60 seconds.
This is the muddy mess left on College Green and Bristol when the
occupied movement left a few weeks ago. Rita feng alone is expected to
cost taxpayers �4,000. Meanwhile 14 members of the Kampala squatting in
a mansion in Clifton. -- of the camp. Jobless young people in the
West have seen their struggle to find work turning into a worrying
statistic. Swindon has been identified as a unemployment
hotspot. Terrible really. No way of getting a job. Swindon residents
are no longer going to be living in that dark. Street lights turned off
last year are to be turned on at a cost of �30,000. And angry anti-
nuclear protesters have set up camp for the second time in a week at
the site in Somerset where nuclear reactors could be built. They're
worried about the loss of local wildlife.
That Was the Week That Was in just 60 seconds. Let's pick up on one of
those stories. The squatters taking over a property in Bristol. And
moves by their Government to crack down on it. I was on the committee
they looked at it and the House of Commons. Now the House of Lords
agree it should be criminalised. They are real Blyton because the
real concern to residents and householders. There are lots of
empty properties doing nothing and lots of homeless people. There is.
I would not condone the squatting, I think that is wrong. And we
support the crackdown on squatting. The tragedy was that we forgot
about the story. This story was away need to rebuild our economy.
We need to look beyond the banks, I think, towards a broader economy.
On that no we have to leave it. That is all we have got time for
this week. Thanks to her guests, Robert Buckland and Mark Dempsey.
Sunday Politics continues with Andrew Neil in London. If you want