South Yorkshire Police moving away from issuing cannabis warnings and fines for hate crimes
Police in South Yorkshire have said they are moving away from handing out fines for hate crimes and warnings for cannabis possession.
The force said it was instead using restorative justice where this is an ‘appropriate resolution’ as well as educating offenders in a bid to ‘change their behaviour’.
Superintendent Steven Chapman said: “As a force, we want to better understand the issues that face our communities and adopt a true problem-solving approach to work with them towards long-term solutions.
“Restorative justice is one element of this problem-solving approach.
“There may be instances where victims don’t want to take a case to court – all they want is an apology or some form of reparation.
“In these instances, our officers have been trained to understand the needs of the victim, assess the perpetrator and determine if restorative justice is suitable.
“They can then bring victim and perpetrator together in the right environment and try to tackle the root cause of the criminal behaviour.”
Supt Chapman added: “Where we can focus on early intervention, on education, we believe this will generate much greater benefits longer term for the public.
“Our officers can work with people to understand issues and how we or other agencies can support individuals to change their behaviour and prevent re-offending.
“Issuing a fine, which sometimes doesn’t get paid, is a short-term deterrent and doesn’t really address the underlying problem.
“Of course, there will always be incidents where restorative justice is not an appropriate resolution and if enforcement is required, then it’s absolutely right and proper that we do it.”