What is community remedy?
Community remedy is a way of dealing with low-level crime. It empowers the victim to help determine what the offender can do to repair the harm that they have caused. However, it must be proportionate and the offender must agree to carry it out.
- If an offender is caught shoplifting, it may be appropriate for them to apologise, return the goods and work voluntarily in the shop, such as bag-packing. If the packaging has been damaged during the theft, it will have devalued the product and it may be appropriate for the offender to pay the shortfall
- If an offender kicks over a garden wall, they may not have the skills to repair it, but the victim may request they tidy up another part of the garden instead
- A victim who has been verbally abused or assaulted (common assault) may want no more than a letter of apology
For real examples of how community remedy has already been used, go to our case study page.
When can community remedy be used?
Not all crimes can be dealt with using community remedy. Examples of crimes suitable for the use of community remedy include:
- theft (under £50 and not from theft from vehicles)
- criminal damage (under £100)
- common assault (not domestic) and Section 5 Public Order Act offences
In the past these crimes would have all been dealt with through the judicial system, for a first time offender this would usually involve a caution or a fine. The victim would not have had any say in this process and offender would not have been given the opportunity to apologise to the victim for what they had done.
Community remedy is not a suitable outcome for all low-level offences, due to circumstances such as:
- The victim wants the offender to be processed through the criminal justice system
- The victim is vulnerable, whether through age, mental health or where they have been targeted
- The offender is a prolific offender, or has previously been arrested and dealt with through community resolution, conviction, caution, conditional caution, reprimand, final warning, and youth conditional caution
- The offender does not admit the offence or shows no remorse