Criminals to work in the community for free

PUBLISHED: 09:42 14 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:11 06 May 2010

CRIMINALS are being given a chance to say sorry for breaking the law by working in their communities for free. They are being encouraged to volunteer for Mid Beds District Council s community payback project, which gives offenders the chance to give somet

CRIMINALS are being given a chance to say sorry for breaking the law by working in their communities for free.

They are being encouraged to volunteer for Mid Beds District Council's community payback project, which gives offenders the chance to give something back to their community.

The project has become so successful the council is seeking applications from groups requiring help.

The project, initiated by the council and Bedfordshire Probation Service, supported by Mid Beds Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP), enables local community groups, town and parish councils, charities and non profit making organisations to benefit from unpaid work placements providing assistance with projects they are undertaking.

The project is set to continue and Mid Beds District Council is once again inviting applications. Each application is vetted by the probation service for its suitability and on grounds of health and safety.

Successful applicants are notified and offered assistance through the project. All necessary tools for the jobs are funded by the Mid Beds CDRP although projects are required to provide materials. Each work group is supervised by probation staff.

Some of the successful projects so far undertaken is the maintenance of grounds and clearing graffiti at Biggleswade Skate Park and cutting back the overgrown embankment alongside the River Ivel in Sandy for the town council.

Rob Parsons, Mid Beds District Council's community safety manager said: "I am very satisfied with how well this community service project has evolved and the feedback we have received to date.

"Getting offenders working hard for their community, not only acts as a form of punishment but also as a way of paying something back to the community affected by their crime.

"The project is set to continue and we will continue to learn from all comments we receive, negative or positive, and we will refine the project with the Probation Service accordingly.

"We are currently seeking applications and priority will be given to projects that are aimed at safeguarding the community against crime and combatting the fear of crime, improving the local environment and appearance of a neighbourhood."

Application forms can be downloaded from www.midbeds.gov.uk/Community Services or by emailing comsafe@midbeds.gov.uk. Alternatively contact Dave Rollings, Community Safety Officer on 08458 495010 for an application form or for further advice.

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