Unruly young Lincoln shoplifters given chance to see error of their ways

A pilot scheme to tackle first-time shoplifters has seen nearly 30 Lincoln teenagers put on a ‘restorative justice’ course.

The scheme, coordinated by Lincolnshire Police in partnership with Lincolnshire County Council’s Youth Offending Service (YOS), sees arrested 10 to 18-year-olds being offered the opportunity to put right their misdemeanours.

In the 12 months the project has been running, 35 young people have taken part in the scheme; 29 from Lincoln and a further six from Grantham.

Suzanne McLardy, from Lincolnshire Police’s Restorative Solutions team, said: “Over the past few years, Lincolnshire Police has worked with retailers to find the most appropriate way to deal with shoplifters.

“Frances Smith QPM is a Restorative Justice Co-ordinator and created these restorative justice sessions to allow offenders and their parents/guardians, YOS, the police and retail store managers to come together face-to-face to all share their thoughts from a personal and professional perspective.

“This process encourages the young offender to talk about why they did what they did and hear the effect of their actions on others.

“We’ve had really positive results, and, in six months since attending the workshops, 91% of the young people have not reoffended.”

Stephen Brett, team leader at Lincolnshire County Council’s Youth Offending Service, added: “Young people need to know that there are consequences for illegal behaviour and through this scheme they can hear the true impact of their crime from the people who they have directly affected.

“By working in partnership with other agencies, we can deliver schemes which we know will make a real difference in addressing and reducing offending behaviour.”