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Restorative justice approach aims to help reduce ASB and criminal damage in Tiptree

Students from a Tiptree school found out more about restorative justice as part of a project designed to help prevent anti-social behaviour and criminal damage.

It took place last year, before the Coronavirus pandemic, and it is hoped the fruits of this work will help to curb anti-social behaviour this summer.

The Essex Restorative and Mediation Service, based in the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex’s Office helped the world-famous Wilkin & Sons and pupils from the Thurstable School come together to help understand the impact ASB and criminal damage can have.

The Service was contacted by Wilkin & Sons after Essex Police visited the factory to offer crime prevention advice following concerns the company had raised regarding criminal and antisocial behaviour that had been taking place. Greenhouses and crops had been damaged and there were fears that people entering the premises may injure themselves as well as damaging the business.

Thurstable School agreed to take part in the process and after a great deal of careful planning, the volunteers and staff from the Essex Restorative and Mediation Service delivered workshops to more than 200 Year 10 students over the course of two days last Autumn.

Thurstable School children on a factory tour. This picture was taken last year and before social distancing.

The pupils learnt:

  • How Restorative Justice works and how it can be put into practice
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Victim awareness and how to identify different perspectives
  • The importance of good relations between Wilkin & Sons, its Tiptree jam factory and the local community
  • Understanding how the Tiptree jam factory operates and the risks associated with breaking into it

They also visited the factory for a tour and met with Children’s and Young Persons Officers from Colchester’s Community Policing Team.

In total more than 200 pupils, five teachers, eight restorative justice practitioners, two police officers and three Wilkin & Sons employees took part in the programme.

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “Bringing people together in this way to develop understanding is just one of the great ways the Restorative and Mediation Service can make a difference to the lives of both people in local communities and local businesses.

“Cracking down on anti-social behaviour is one of the priorities in our Police and Crime Plan and this project has helped to educate and hopefully prevent ASB incidents from happening in the future.”

Andrey Ivanov, Farm Manager at Wilkin & Sons, said: “We were pleased to work with the Essex Restorative & Mediation Service on their school workshop project which we hope created a better understanding of the links between Wilkin & Sons and local youths.”

John Lee, Deputy Headteacher at the Thurstable School, said: “As a school we were very happy to take part in the project as many of our students and their families are affected by the issues raised. “Our students greatly enjoyed the tour of the farm and a number of insights were gained into how we can work restoratively with other people.”

 

To find out more about the Essex Restorative and Mediation Service and how it could help you go to https://www.restorativeessex.co.uk/

 

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