DEWSBURY MP Simon Reevell has backed a pilot scheme in which yobs will be made to face their victims.
Kirklees is one of 15 areas chosen by the Government nationally to trial Neighbourhood Resolution Panels.
Those guilty of ‘low level’ crime or antisocial behaviour have to talk with their victims about how to make amends.
The scheme is aimed at offenders aged 18 and over, and meetings are to be run by a trained volunteer mediator.
It is then decided how the criminal can make amends, either directly to the victim or by helping the community.
Mr Reevell, a barrister, believes it could cut reoffending by drumming into criminals the effect they have on victims.
He added people could also achieve ‘closure’ by telling an offender how their actions had affected their lives or damaged a home or business.
He said: “I’ve had experience of talking with victims who’ve met criminals and they’ve come to understand more about the offending.
“They feel better when it becomes clear it wasn’t aimed specifically at them and it wasn’t anything they did wrong.”
Some referrals, involving cases of criminal damage, thefts and neighbour disputes, have already been made by police under the pilot.
Insp Jonathan Dunkerley, of Kirklees Police, explained: “We have a strict screening system in place.
“Only those offences that are suitable and with agreement from all parties will be referred.”
Kirklees Council cabinet member for communities Coun Jean Calvert said: “The panels only work with offenders who have admitted their guilt.
“They also have to be willing to face their victims and this only happens where the victim consents.
“Serious offences will continue to be dealt with by the courts. I’m hopeful these panels will have a positive impact across the district.”