Offenders helping communities

Unpaid work carried out by offenders under the Community Payback Order scheme has made a real difference to Aberdeenshire’s communities.

Improvement works including snow clearing, landscaping and painting have been carried out in all areas of Aberdeenshire by offenders who have been imposed a Community Payback Order (CPO) by the courts.

In 2012/13, the Criminal Justice Service managed 486 CPOs, compared with 297 for the previous year, according to a report to go before the Social Work & Housing Committee on Thursday, November 7.

In total the service supervised 45,418 hours of work during that time, an increase of 9,000 hours on the previous year, despite receiving no increase in budget.

Recent works carried out include clearing ditches at Aden Country Park, digging a community garden at Newmachar, painting flats at Fraserburgh, clearing up storm damage in Stonehavenand clearing an archaeological site at Bilbathan Woods, Kintore.

Extra funding has been identified to increase the capacity of the service by an extra 300 hours a week. This is expected to begin early in 2014.

The council is working with partners, including charity shops, social enterprises and community projects, to identify individual placements suitable for some offenders.

Of the offenders imposed in CPOs in 2012/13, 82% of the offenders were male, compared with 18% female. While the age of offenders ranges from 16 to over 65, the highest proportion are aged between 21 and 25.

CPOs were introduced by the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 and can be imposed for offences committed after 1 February 2011.

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