Litter in Medway will be cleaned up by offenders as part of a new scheme led by Kent Police.
Officers have partnered with Medway Council’s Environmental Engagement Team to create placements for those in receipt of a conditional caution. Now, litter-picking is one option that could be included in the terms of the caution.
Conditional cautions can be given to low-level or first-time offenders in lieu of being charged or prosecuted. The sanctions, which run for 16 weeks, are issued by police and allow a proportionate response, quick reparation for victims through restorative justice, and where appropriate can place people into drug and alcohol rehabilitation services.
Officers will always seek the views of victims before conditional cautions are issued, to make sure they represent a suitable sanction.
A breach of a conditional caution may result in the offender being charged for their original offence.
On Thursday 6 July 2023, nearly 36 kilograms of litter was removed from Knight Road, Strood, by an offender who, following a caution for a low-level offence, spent two hours litter picking and filled six bags in the process.
A further 24 kilograms of litter were recovered by the same person near Kestrel Road in Lordswood on Tuesday 18 July.
Following a successful start to the litter-picking initiative, Kent Police is keen to work with other partner agencies to identify more teams who might be able to provide more opportunities for offenders to carry out acts of community service.
Inspector Victoria Bushell, from Kent Police’s Criminal Justice Operations Team, said:
‘Kent Police is a trailblazer force and continues to show initiative by requiring criminals to complete unpaid work as part of a conditional caution. The scheme has so far proved to be a successful alternative to charges and prosecutions. By committing offenders to acts of service, the community that has suffered because of their crimes, is recompensed.‘We are now exploring ways this project can be expanded beyond Medway and include other unpaid work activities.’