Lib Dems announce plans for antisocial behaviour courts

Community justice panels staffed by volunteers from the
community would hear antisocial behaviour cases under plans
announced by the Liberal Democrats at the party’s annual
conference in Bournemouth, writes Clare

Under the scheme, offenders arrested for crimes such as
vandalism or being drunk and disorderly would be given the choice
of going through a normal court procedure or going before a panel
of local people.

The offender would be expected to explain his or her actions,
apologise and agree to a programme of work or reparation to make
amends for the damage caused.

“I want offenders to see the anger and hurt they cause to
those living in their streets and communities,” said shadow
home secretary Mark Oaten.

“But this is not just about punishment – it offers
the offender something that a court appearance cannot – a
chance to earn back the respect of the community and demonstrate
that he can act responsibly,” he added.

Oaten concluded that the scheme would give the public a say in
the way that local crime problems are dealt with, give offenders
the chance to make amends and should reduce crime and make
communities safer.

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