What ITV's Loose Women think about Hartlepool crime rehabilitation scheme
A new initiative running in Hartlepool which sees low level offenders avoid prosecution set tongues wagging on ITV’s Loose Women.
Cleveland Divert launched in January and involves people caught committing offences like shoplifting, drug possession or being drunk and disorderly avoid going to court if they agree to work with the authorities to better themselves.
An officer works with an offender for up to four months, and they must sign an agreement stating they will not re-offend, will participate in victim awareness work and attend appointments with officers.
As of the end of July, 14 referrals had been made to the system from Hartlepool and 117 across Cleveland.
The initiative was one of the subjects debated by ITV’s popular Loose Women on Friday, August 30, with panelists Jane Moore, Denise Welch and Brenda Edwards all backing the scheme.
Sun columnist Jane Moore said: “I think it is a really good idea as long as there is more to it [than signing a piece of paper].
“I think the system we have at the minute doesn’t work so we do have to look at other things.”
She said if it helps authorities to work with offenders at an early stage it can prevent them committing more serious crimes and provide help for issues such as substance misuse and mental health problems.
Jane added: “If they then offend again having signed this piece of paper say the punishment would be worse than it was the first time.”
Fellow panelist Denise Welch was also in favour of the scheme and restorative justice where offenders meet their victims.
She said: “The whole justice system isn’t working. These are much bigger crimes than they seem on face value.
“I honestly do feel very strongly about the restorative justice.”
Singer and actress Brenda Edwards added she was “100% all for it”.
Rachelle Kipling, from the office of Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, told July’s meeting of the Safer Hartlepool Partnership: “As the scheme becomes further embedded and referral pathways are further refined, it is expected that referral numbers will increase and more people will be going through the scheme and hopefully the reoffending behaviour will reduce.”