Restorative justice and ending racial profiling on the agenda for Lib Dem crime chief candidate

On election day in 2016 Rupert Moss-Eccardt received a call from a mother whose son had been severely injured by a driver who had been sent to prison.

By Joel Lamy
Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 4:53 am

The mother had gone to speak to the offender at HMP Peterborough and, as a result, “gained closure,” with her faith in the process leading her to become a qualified restorative justice practitioner.

The story is relayed by the Liberal Democrat candidate to be Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner as a reason why he is a big believer in restorative justice, and why it is one of his main tools to reducing crime.

Although restorative justice - a process which brings victims and offenders into communication, - currently operates in the area, Mr Moss-Eccardt said “you can always do more,” in particular by “bringing it to the front and advocating it”.

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Rupert Moss-Eccardt

He added: “It’s not considered the default, it’s ‘oh well let’s add it on’. I can advocate for it and make sure people have it more on the forefront of their minds and also demonstrate it’s been successful so we can put more money into it.

“It’s for certain types of crime - burglary being a very good example. Lots of burglars don’t realise the impact of what they’ve done.

“They sit down in a properly managed environment and the victim can say how they feel about being burgled, and that does have a hugely amazing effect. And if you talk to professional criminals they find that useful too.

“First offenders in particular, someone who’s been tempted into crime, if they understand the damage they have done that reduces offending from first offenders by 18 to 20 per cent depending on which research you look at.

“That’s a big win because it reduces crime and stops someone from becoming a career criminal.

“It’s a very effective use of resource.”

Making sure prison services help offenders rehabilitate is one area - although not directly under his remit - Mr Moss-Eccardt said he would speak up about if elected, while he is also keen to take a look at the relationship Cambridgeshire police has with minority groups.

He stated that stop and searches in cars, and stops without searches, are not recorded but “can still be used disproportionately,” adding: “They’ve re-established the stop and search panels. That’s important and we’ll see how that works.”

Asked if there is a problem in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, he replied: “I think there is a degree of racial profiling going on which is not right.

“(I would) make it clear that it’s not right and put some effort into establishing what’s going on. (There would be) re-training, education - just re-setting the standard.

“What the PCC can do with no money at all is make clear what they favour and what they don’t. That then, via the chief, hopefully diffuses into the force. By saying what’s right and what’s not right you can help people choose the right path.”