Safer Travel reduce reoffending through restorative justice

Published: 27-01-2020

The Restorative Justice scheme for offenders of anti-social behaviour and vandalism on public transport has recorded a zero percent reoffending rate for the second year running.

Under the West Midlands Safer Travel Partnership scheme, offenders are invited to meet the victim, often a bus or rail operator, and put right their damage.

In 2019, a total of 35 people participated in the scheme - an increase from 30 participants in 2018. Over those two years none of the individuals have since reoffended on-board buses, trains or trams.

Nationally the reoffending rate for all crimes has stood at around 30% for several years.

Anti-social behaviour can be overlooked or dismissed to be “victimless” incidents, but under this scheme offenders have to face their victims and hear how they have been impacted.

Often a bus or train company representative attends the session to explain the impact that anti-social behaviour can have – such a bus being pulled out of service for cleaning or costly repair.

The meetings also provide offenders with the chance to apologise directly for their behaviour and an opportunity to make amends. Each programme is tailored to the offence committed.

Typically a round of practical sessions is also organised for anti-social behaviour and crimes such as criminal damage or arson, where offenders take part in cleaning sessions or fire safety courses.

Previous programmes have included additional conditions such as letters of apology to victims and paying compensation costs for damages to transport operators.

Addressing problem behaviour early on through community resolutions such as restorative justice can have a huge impact in deterring future anti-social behaviour and potential escalation into crime. 

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, who has supported the initiative since its establishment in 2015, said: “Restorative justice is highly effective in reducing harm, helping victims overcome the trauma of an incident and for perpetrators understand the impact of their actions.

“I’m proud to support this initiative which is proving to be a success and I am committed to it continuing to help reduce crime on public transport.

“By further reducing crime on trains, trams and buses, we can encourage more people to give up their cars and use public transport.”

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said:  “No-one who has taken part in this scheme has committed further crimes on our buses, trains or trams.

“Instead they learn to take responsibility for their actions and face their victims and find out how their actions can impact on the travelling public.

At a time when we are seeing unprecedented investment in our bus, rail and tram networks it is important that people can use them in safety and with schemes like this we are seeing real results – with crime falling on public transport throughout the West Midlands last year.”

The Anti-Social Behaviour team, made up of staff from West Midlands Police, British Transport Police and Transport for West Midlands, investigate reports of nuisance behaviour across the region’s transport network.

Reports can be submitted online via the Safer Travel website or through the See Something Say Something text service. Passengers can text the word “Bus” followed by a space and as much information about the incident as possible to 83010. In an emergency, passengers should always dial 999.