Grantham teenage shoplifters put on successful ‘restorative justice’ session

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Teens in Grantham who have been caught shoplifting have been given the chance to put right their wrongs.

In a pilot scheme run by Lincolnshire Police, in partnership with Lincolnshire County Council’s Youth Offending Service (YOS), young people aged between 10 and 18, arrested for shoplifting for the first time, have been given the opportunity to attend a ‘restorative justice’ session.

Running since November 2014, 35 young people have taken part in the scheme - 29 from Lincoln and six from Grantham.

Suzanne McLardy, of Lincolnshire Police’s Restorative Solutions team, said: “Over the past few years, Lincolnshire Police has worked with retailers to find the most appropriate way to deal with shoplifters.

“Frances Smith QPM is a Restorative Justice Co-ordinator and created these restorative justice sessions to allow offenders and their parents/guardians, YOS, the Police and retail store managers to come together face-to-face to all share their thoughts from a personal and professional perspective.

“This process encourages the young offender to talk about why they did what they did and hear the effect of their actions on others.

“We’ve had really positive results, and, in six months since attending the workshops, 91% of the young people have not reoffended.”

Stephen Brett, team leader at Lincolnshire County Council’s Youth Offending Service, said: “Young people need to know that there are consequences for illegal behaviour and through this scheme they can hear the true impact of their crime from the people who they have directly affected.

“By working in partnership with other agencies, we can deliver schemes which we know will make a real difference in addressing and reducing offending behaviour.”