29 June 2009>
Offenders from across the Caerphilly county borough area have been working with Gwent Probation Service to carry out "Community Payback" as a means of paying back to the community for the crimes they committed.
Residents of the county borough were recently asked to vote from a shortlist of five areas, for which of those areas they would like to see receive Community Payback activity first.
Community Payback is an initiative that involves offenders having to wear fluorescent orange jackets with the words "Community Payback" emblazoned across the back, while carrying out tasks such as graffiti removal, litter picking and removal of fly tipping, as a means of paying back to the community for the crimes they have committed.
The public voted for Churchill Park in Caerphilly to be the area to receive attention first, so when voting lines closed, Gwent Probation Service and offenders undertaking Community Payback got to work as requested by members of the public.
To date, offenders have spent a total of 88 hours working in Churchill Park as part of the Community Payback initiative, removing litter and fly tipping from the area. A total of 60 bin bags full of refuse were collected.
Offenders will regularly revisit Churchill Park as part of their Community Payback to ensure that the area remains clean and tidy.
A resident of Churchill Park commented, "It is very refreshing to see that offenders are being made to visibly pay back to the community for the crimes they committed. The offenders have been working to clear away litter from the estate, and the results are very good.
The fact that they have to wear bright orange jackets means that residents are able to see for themselves that offenders are making amends for what they have done. I think that the Community Payback initiative is very good, and I hope it continues."
Having completed work in Churchill Park for the time being, offenders have also been taking part in Community Payback in other areas of the borough.
To date, offenders have spent a total of 256 hours working in Graig y Rhacca. During this time, they removed graffiti from the area as well as collecting a total of 140 bin bags full of litter and fly tipping refuse.
Offenders have also spent a total of 21 hours in Ty Sign, Risca as part of Community Payback. During this time, they collected 10 bin bags full of litter.
This work is very much ongoing and the Safer Caerphilly Community Safety Partnership and Gwent Probation Service would like residents to get in touch if they would like to suggest an area that would benefit from Community Payback.
Cabinet member for the environment, Cllr Lyn Ackerman said, "I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that voted for their area to receive Community Payback.
The Community Payback initiative ensures that justice is being seen to be done and the fact that offenders are now made to wear florescent orange jackets emblazoned with the words "Community Payback" emphasises this."
Chief Officer for Gwent Probation Service, Jane Coates said, "'Justice Seen, Justice Done' has offered a welcome opportunity for Gwent Probation Area to respond to the views of the public who, quite properly, want to see offenders making proper recompense for the damage caused to local communities by crime.
Last year our Community Payback team delivered over 10,000 hours of unpaid work in neighbourhoods across the Caerphilly county borough and the tasks, including graffiti removal, reclamation of waste ground and buildings refurbishment are demanding and designed to improve local facilities as well as to punish individuals who commit offences.
The 'Justice Seen, Justice Done' initiative is another example of how effective the partnership between the Probation Service, other organisations committed to cutting crime and the public can be and our Community Payback team would welcome suggestions from readers for projects that would allow that partnership to grow."
For further information, please visit www.caerphilly.gov.uk/saferccb.
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