‘Community Payback’ programme reaches its 40th anniversary

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CRIMINALS sentenced to community service in Hampshire are clocking up almost 250,000 hours of work a year, new figures show.

According to Hampshire Probation Trust about 3,000 offenders complete about 245,000 hours of unpaid work in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight every year – and the public are urged to nominate local projects.

The figures were released to mark the scheme’s 40th anniversary.

Kelly Taggart, Community Payback manager, said: ‘The ethos is about making offenders understand the impact of their crimes and to pay something back to the community through hard work and loss of their personal time.

‘During their time on Community Payback offenders involved in groups will be supervised and taught new practical skills and are encouraged to develop a stronger work ethic, which in turn helps reduce the risk of reoffending.’

Four decades after Community Payback was introduced, it is still going strong.

Locally, offenders have been working on Hilsea Lido on and off for the past seven years.

They have been involved clearing back undergrowth, cleaning the swimming pool and painting the changing rooms.

It is hoped that the outdoor swimming pool will be opened next summer thanks to their work.

Hampshire Probation Trust has formed a partnership with Hopkins Recycling, for offenders to work in Hampshire County Council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres. Offenders who have been sentenced to carry out Community Payback can be ordered to work between 40 and 300 hours.

This is a compulsory requirement that they must comply with – or face further action.

Nominate Community Payback projects via Hampshire Probation Trust at hampshire-probation.gov.uk/communitypayback