THERE WAS double delight as two West Midlands schemes designed to prevent crime were handed national awards.
The Offender to Rehab programme won first place in the Policing and Adults Category and the Restorative Justice scheme came top in the Restorative Approaches category at the Howard League for Penal Reform Awards.
Both schemes are funded by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster (PCC).
The Offender to Rehab programme aims to get prolific shoplifters into residential rehab, if they are stealing to buy drugs.
The programme is predominantly funded using money seized from criminals, under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2022.
The PCC says the programme has saved well over £1million for retailers, due to a reduction in shoplifting and prevented approximately £350,000 being spent on illegal drugs.
Meanwhile the Restorative Justice offers victims the chance to meet with their offender to get closure.
Victims sometimes take up the offer despite having been seriously assaulted and their attacker now being in prison.
Offenders often report that meeting their victims changes their behaviour and puts a stop to their law breaking.
Mr Foster said: “The Offender to Rehab and Restorative Justice work is making a real difference to people’s lives. They are stopping people offending, reducing crime and protecting victims.
“I believe that if you prevent people from committing crime in the first place then that means less crime, less victims of crime and is far cheaper for the taxpayer, than trying to arrest your way out of the problem.”