Labour unveils pledge to create ‘community and victim payback boards’

Elliot Chappell

Labour will unveil a pledge to create a system of ‘community and victim payback boards’ (CVPBs) in a bid to strengthen community and victim involvement in sentencing, reduce antisocial behaviour and stop more serious offending.

Commenting on the proposal, which is set to be announced on Monday ahead of the local elections taking place next month, Keir Starmer criticised the Conservatives’ record on crime and justice and promised that his party would “put communities and victims at the heart of how offenders repay society”.

“After 12 years of Conservative government, which has seen record criminal case delays, police officers disappearing from our streets, police station closures and court sell-offs, communities have no faith that the criminal justice system is keeping their communities safe from crime,” the Labour leader said.

“Community payback can stop more serious reoffending, but judges have stopped handing it out because this soft-on-crime Conservative government cannot be trusted to make sure offenders pay back for their crimes.”

Under the plans, Labour has said that locally appointed CVPBs would operate through community safety partnerships or other existing infrastructure at no additional cost, creating a “new level of involvement for community leaders and victims of crime in deciding what unpaid work offenders must undertake”.

The opposition party is hoping the plans to “get tough on low-level offending” will “rebuild communities’ trust in the criminal justice system” with CVPBs handing out ‘community and victim payback orders’, which would be ranked by severity to reflect the judgement awarded in each case.

Data will be published locally, detailing the nature of the offenders and the unpaid work that they have been ordered to do, so that communities and victims can see justice being served and that offenders are paying back for their crimes.

The announcement today is part of Labour’s local election “community crime crackdown”, ahead of local elections taking place across parts of England, Scotland and Wales on May 5th. The party has pledged that it will:

  • “Make offenders pay back to the communities they’ve harmed with new community and victim payback orders. Local people and victims will have a say in how offenders pay back through new community and victim order;
  • “Set up new Police Hubs in our towns to put police back on the streets. We’ll give residents direct access to share their concerns and secure their communities. This will be paid for by switching taxpayer money from Boris Johnson’s £250 million yacht; and
  • “Create new ‘neighbourhood prevention teams’ bringing together police, community support officers, youth workers and council staff to tackle the causes of anti-social behaviour.”

Starmer urged voters to “send the Tories a message they cannot ignore” on the rapidly rising cost of living by voting for his party in the upcoming May elections, as the opposition leader launched Labour’s campaign in Bury last month.

Labour recently gained a new MP in Bury South, defector Christian Wakeford, and the party is hoping to win back the other parliamentary constituency, Bury North, which the Conservatives gained in 2019 by margin of just 105 votes.

The Labour leader used a speech in Birmingham at the start of the year to set out his proposal for a new “contract with the British people”, based on three principles: “security”, “prosperity” and “respect”.

“The first duty of a government is the security of its citizens. I was once this country’s leading prosecutor. Crime and anti-social behaviour are issues that matter to me personally. I have seen too many victims of crime, most of them not at all well off, not to know that security is a matter of social justice,” Starmer said.

“That’s why Labour will provide crime prevention teams in every neighbourhood. New police hubs will be visible in every community. We will introduce a tough new approach to closing down drug dens with new powers for local police and local authorities.”

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