Sir Charles Pollard responds to David Gauke's proposed reforms in The Times

Our Honorary President, Sir Charles Pollard has written this week to The Times in response to their article of 26th May regarding offenders and apologies. The text of his letter can be read below.

Sir, It is good news about David Gauke’s reforms to reduce short custodial sentences, but your Leading Article (Saturday Interview, May 26) also raises an illogical idea, though a popular misconception, that such sentencing in future should include “an obligation to apologise to the victim”. There is no evidence that an apology induced by necessity or obligation results in a genuine, heartfelt apology likely to change an offender’s criminal mindset and behaviour.

That is why Restorative Justice, whereby offenders voluntarily meet their victims, works so well. The victim can directly tell the offender the nature and type of personal harm they have suffered, often leading to a heartfelt apology and an attitude change. There is cogent evidence that this reduces future re-offending significantly and helps victims to move on in their lives. 

Past Ministers and the Ministry of Justice are to be congratulated on their implementation of this in recent years. It needs to be expanded in conjunction with the new policies to achieve the needed reduction of the prison population and less crime. 

SIR CHARLES POLLARD QPM
Chief Constable, Thames Valley Police 1991-2002
President, Restorative Solutions cic

The Times operates a paywall so you can see more about David Gauke's comments from this Guardian article


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I'm so glad I am working with RJ. I don't know who would listen to me if it wasn’t for you.
A Person Harmed by Crime
RJ is very underrated and I certainly think we should be using it more.
A Professional who Referred Someone into our Service
Very satisfied – it’s been a great service. A worthwhile process for me and I hope for the offenders. Staff have been great and I would like to thank them.
A victim
It was the right thing to do. Both victims told me to let go of what happened. I didn't want to hear it but they both forgave me and said I should move on. I have taken that on and thought about it and I have come to terms with what happened. You've helped me significantly. It's as though my head has been lifted of a gigantic weight.
An Offender
Thanks for your time today. I feel like you understand R so well, I really hope you can help him to learn how to be happy.
Feedback from a family in East Kent
Restorative Justice offers a unique opportunity for victims and survivors to move on from and overcome the trauma that can be left with them after experiencing crime. I am exceedingly proud of the work that the team at Restorative Solutions do in supporting our community. We should always consider the needs of victims of crime and this service exemplifies that sentiment and allows so many to put behind them what can be the worst experience of their lives.
Marc Jones, Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner and Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.

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