The Government intend to publish a framework for restorative justice that will improve the victim’s awareness and access to restorative justice. We have also introduced legislation to put restorative justice on to a statutory footing for the first time.
I am delighted to see a statutory basis for restorative justice. The Minister is, I hope, aware of the experiments in police-organised restorative justice conferences for victims of serious crime—a study carried out by criminologists from the university of Cambridge from 2001 to 2005—which showed that more than £10 of the costs of crime could be saved for every pound spent on this process. Will he ensure that ring-fenced funding is available for restorative justice, as well as the statutory basis?
I am happy to assure my hon. Friend that we are already investing more than £1.5 million to help build capacity in dealing with restorative justice throughout the criminal justice system and, in particular, for pre-sentence restorative justice, which is what his question refers to. I am also delighted to report that over 18,000 police officers have received training in restorative justice techniques. This is contributing to the greater success of our restorative justice measures.
Will my right hon. Friend come and visit Swindon, where we are piloting neighbourhood justice panels, involving the community in making decisions about wrongdoers and having a real sense of control for the first time in relation to crimes that affect a large number of people in my community?
I would be delighted to visit my hon. Friend. It is always life-enhancing to go to Swindon—I speak as a fan of Reading football club. He is right that pilots have found that restorative justice is associated with an estimated 14% reduction in the frequency of reoffending and, perhaps even more importantly, that 85% of victims who participate in restorative justice are satisfied with the experience. Since we want to put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system, that is an extremely encouraging result.