Community courts get high praise from top

Police officers at Athena Avenue. Picture: Malcolm Wells

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PLANS to get peer courts set up in Portsmouth have won praise from high office.

The courts, which will see young people decide the punishment of their peers who have committed low-level crime, were discussed yesterday in Southampton.

Justice secretary Chris Grayling, Hampshire police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes and PC Mark Walsh met youngsters being trained for the scheme.

Mr Grayling said: ‘It’s a very interesting idea.

‘There is a real role for community-focus for actions that are the lower end of the seriousness of the scale.

‘We don’t particularly want to give teenagers criminal records if we don’t have to.’

PC Walsh presented his findings from his trip to America to find out about community courts.

He said: ‘It was an amazing opportunity. He seemed quite pleased that we did consult young people.’

Eloise Peabody-Rolf, 15, of Lovedean, is in training for the role. She said: ‘Through the training we’re getting I think we’ll be well prepared.’