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Aberdeen offenders carry out beach clean-up to ‘pay back’ to community

08/07/14

Social Care, Wellbeing and Safety convener Councillor Len Ironside CBE will join Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny McAskill MSP to see offenders carrying out unpaid work on behalf of the local community tomorrow (Weds 09 July).

They will see first hand a squad carrying out a beach clean-up on the lower Beach Promenade near the Beach Ballroom by sweeping away wind-blown sand and removing litter from the popular beachfront pathway.

The Justice Secretary is visiting Aberdeen tomorrow and asked to see for himself some of the work being carried out by offenders engaged in Community Payback to benefit their local community as part of their sentence.

Community Payback Orders came into effect in Scotland in 2011 and enable courts to impose one or more requirements on offenders, including unpaid work for the benefit of the community. The requirement also includes an 'other activities' element, which could include a range of support and/or learning opportunities to help offenders address behaviour to reduce the risk of reoffending.

Between April 2011 and March 2012 the courts in Aberdeen made 493 Community Payback orders with Unpaid Work Requirements, each averaging 109 hours, leading to 53,929 hours of unpaid work being undertaken for the community. In 2012/13 courts made 876 orders, averaging 106 hours per order, totalling 93,292 hours. Provisional figures for 2013/14 indicate 972 orders, each averaging 110 hours and totalling 106,703 hours of unpaid work.

Offenders have shovelled snow, gardened, maintained parks, painted buildings, carried out litter picks, made and repaired goods for sale in charity shops, participated in recycling projects, provided shopping services for sheltered housing tenants, and carried out household furniture removals for disadvantaged people.

Unpaid work at the beach includes work to remove sand from the walkway and steps to ensure the path is accessible. The work is a collaboration between Aberdeen City Council's Environmental Services and the Criminal Justice Service's Unpaid Work Team.

Councillor Ironside said: "This is a great opportunity for us to show the Justice Secretary the positive achievements in Aberdeen of our award-winning Unpaid Work Team, which does so much to help offenders get back on to the right path.

"They are making sure that offenders give something back to the community they have harmed by engaging them in constructive work which makes a real difference to local people, from shopping for elderly people to keeping the beach clean and tidy.

"The team won the title of 'Scotland's Overall Best Community Payback Project' in 2012 for the creative ways in which they approach their work and we should be proud that we have such an innovative approach to Community Justice in Aberdeen."