Hampshire Constabulary was the first force to pilot a ‘peer court’ concept known as the Hampshire Community Court programme.
Volunteers aged 14 to 25 contribute to this programme by volunteering their time to hold regular restorative-focused hearings where a crime has been committed involving another young person.
Using restorative principals, which look for ways for victims and offenders to positively move on from crime, the youth volunteers hold their peers to account when they have broken the law for the first time as part of a community resolution intervention. They also help and support any victim of that youth crime.
The pilot has been deemed successful with a 97% offender attendance and engagement rate. The victim engagement rate is 100% and the current re-offending rate of offenders is very low. They have now expanded this work into other areas of Hampshire and the practice has also been adopted in other parts of the UK.
The feedback from both the volunteers and participants is largely positive with young people overwhelmingly saying the best part of the project is being able to volunteer with the police in a meaningful way to support their community.