Communities benefit from payback orders

Unpaid work totalling one and three quarter million hours was imposed on low-level offenders in Scotland as punishment for their crimes in the last year, according to figures released.

 This included work to repair fallen gravestones, clean graffiti off streets and stairwells, remove chewing gum from pavements, renovate elderly care homes and building work to help improve sports facilities for the benefit of the community.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has now urged local people across Scotland to have their say on the type of work they want to see low level offenders carrying out in their communities next year, with legislation having been brought in which means that communities can nominate projects they want to see work being carried out upon as pay back.

Mr MacAskill said: “This Government is working hard to ensure that Scotland is a safe place to live. Recorded crime at its lowest level for 37 years, supported by the work of more than 1,000 extra police officers in communities.

“These figures reflect the first full year of the Community Payback Order being used by the courts to bring offenders to justice.

“Punishment should be tough and we want to see low level offenders out making improvements to local communities as pay back for the damage they have done. Today’s statistics show that is happening with one and three quarters million hours of unpaid work imposed on offenders last year and communities are reaping the benefits right across the country.

“Whether it’s building work to renovate community facilities like changing facilities and bowling clubs, clearing chewing gum from our town centres or shovelling snow and ice to benefit members of the public, I have seen plenty of examples where CPOs are working and making a difference.”