Youths responsible for vandalising Sherwood Avenue Park, Newark, with graffiti spent the day cleaning up the site this weekend.
Three of the offenders found to be involved with vandalising the play park were eligible to take part in the restorative justice process and were subsequently tasked with litter picking at Sherwood Avenue Park and St Mary Magdalene’s Church Gardens.
Newark and Sherwood District Council’s Public Protection Team have been working with Nottinghamshire Police to identify the culprits and arrange the restorative justice exercise.
A District Council Community Protection Officer, a Police Officer, and a Police Community Support Officer joined the youths during the day to discuss the incident and the potential consequences of being involved in anything of such nature again in the future.
Restorative justice is designed to provide an opportunity for the police to deal with appropriate low-level offences without going through formal criminal justice sanctions, which could result in a young person having a criminal record for what could be a momentary lapse of judgement.
In some similar cases of restorative justice offenders are tasked with the removal of the graffiti, however due to the potentially hazardous substances needed to remove the paint and the age of the offenders, it was decided that a litter pick would be more suitable to avoid health and safety concerns.
The vandalism was removed by the District Council’s Street Scene Team swiftly after it was discovered.
Councillor Roger Jackson, Portfolio Holder for Cleaner, Safer, Greener, at Newark and Sherwood District Council said:
“I know that the majority of residents in Newark and Sherwood take great pride in our community, and many people including residents and our officers, work hard to maintain our public spaces.
“It is disappointing to understand why anyone would disrespect our spaces in such a way, but I am hopeful that the restorative justice process allows those individuals to see the consequences of their actions and deters them from repeating such unacceptable behaviour again in the future.
“Graffiti is not only an eyesore, but every pound spent on the removal of this vandalism is a pound less being spent on important services that have a much wider public benefit.”
Community Protection Officer Amanda Burt said: “I was pleased to be involved in the day of restorative justice and to not only have the opportunity to discuss the consequences vandalism has with the offenders, but also to see them show an understanding of the impact their behaviour had.
“Having witnessed the graffiti and their behaviour in town myself it was good to see a positive outcome.”
Inspector Matt Ward, District Commander for Newark and Sherwood, said: “Restorative justice can help people reflect on their actions and the negative impact this may have on a community. Taking part in this process gives them the opportunity to engage positively in the community.”