Crime victim launches Colne restorative justice panel

Margaret Foxley
Image caption Councillor Margaret Foxley said restorative justice has a huge impact on victims and offenders

A Lancashire woman who went to meet the burglar who stole a laptop with images of her late daughter on it is launching a restorative justice initiative.

Pendle councillor Margaret Foxley is chairing the Colne Community Advisory Panel which will apply restorative justice principles to tackle crime.

She said its aim was to nip community issues in the bud before they escalate.

Restorative justice brings victims, offenders and communities together to talk and find a positive way forward.

Lancashire Police and Pendle Council are supporting the scheme and will refer cases to the panel.

Mrs Foxley, Conservative councillor for the Boulsworth ward, said: "We will use a restorative approach to deal with the problems before they become a part of the criminal justice system so it is about nipping it in the bud.

"It may be a neighbourhood dispute which may very small but if it isn't dealt with it can become bigger and escalate and become a police matter."

'Peaceful place'

Mrs Foxley is an advocate of restorative justice approach since meeting the man who burgled her home.

"It allows victims to ask questions so they can get to a much more peaceful place and offenders can hear from the victim the impact their crime has on them.

"The meeting has had a huge effect on him and stopped him reoffending."

Panellist Geoff Whitehead, who leads community safety at Pendle Council, said the scheme would take restorative justice techniques and use them in community settings.

He said: "The aim is to try to intervene early and effect a resolution and by doing this it could help prevent problems escalating into crime."

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