Offenders are asked to apologise

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CRITICS of the temporary closure of Spalding’s police cells claim fewer people have been arrested compared to the same time last year.

Spalding police inspector Chris Davison agrees arrests are down – but says the fall is due to police forces adopting ‘restorative justice’ rather than the trial closure of the town’s cells.

He said a lot of police disposals involve caution or charge but, in appropriate cases, officers are agreeing an action plan for “the offender to make reparation to the satisfaction of the victim”.

Insp Davison said in incidents of theft from shops by under 18s, where the offender has not been in trouble before, the young person will be asked to apologise to the shopkeeper.

He said: “Apologising to the victim can often be more harsh than the official punishment.

“This means the young person isn’t criminalised – with a caution or conviction – but they also learn their lesson.”

Spalding’s cells reopened over Christmas and New Year but their long term fate will be decided by police chiefs soon.

Insp Davison said Chief Insp Paul Timmins, the former Spalding sector inspector, is writing a report on the effects of the trial.

l Lincolnshire Police Authority has just agreed to outsource many support services, including custody, to G4S in a £200 million contract.

Five custody sergeants and six custody officers transferred from Spalding to other stations during the trial closure of Spalding’s cells but Insp Davison says the G4S contract would not prevent them from returning to Spalding.