Princess Anne is audience to justice chiefs

Princess Anne dropped into Dewsbury Town Hall to hear about a new safety initiative in Kirklees.

The Princess Royal listened to representatives of the Restorative Community Safety Partnership on July 4.

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A patron of the Restorative Justice Council, she greeted the Mayor of Kirklees Ken Smith, West Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williams and others at a ceremonial entrance beforehand.

Restorative justice is the attempt to improve community relations by getting victims and offenders to voluntarily come together and resolve their issues face-to-face.

Coun Peter O’Neil, cabinet lead for communities and leisure, said: “It’s wonderful that the Princess Royal has recognised the value of all the restorative services and work that has been taking place.

“It gave Her Royal Highness the opportunity to meet the people involved as well as hear from some victims of crime and offenders that have been involved in a restorative process.”

Speeches were then made by chief executive of Kirklees Council Adrian Lythgo and Mr Burns-Williams on their efforts in Yorkshire.

The partnership closely involves the council, police, fire and rescue authorities, Kirkless Neighbourhood Housing, primary care trusts, probation officers and others who will provide the service.

Mr Burns-Williamson said:“Restorative justice is shown nationally to achieve a high satisfaction rate for victims that have engaged with the process.”

It leads to a reduction in first-time offenders and re-offenders, he said.

The process focuses on victim’s needs and allows them to tell offenders what impact their crime has had and to get answers and an apology, he added.

“It lets offenders understand the real impact of what they’ve done, to take responsibility and make amends.”