Graffiti youth makes amends

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A THIRTEEN year old boy who sprayed graffiti on newly installed play equipment at Broad Oak, Brede, has made amends by apologising, cleaning it off and donating £100 to the local playground committee.

The local boy admitted spraying graffiti on the newly installed playground equipment, and at the basketball court and bus shelter in April.

He was spotted two nights later by patrolling PC Nigel Collins, and was trying to remove the playground graffiti at the time.

The Parish Council agreed to resolve the offence by community resolution as they did not want to see the boy prosecuted.

He apologised in writing to the Council, and agreed to meet the playground committee in person, remove all the graffiti, and to carry out some unpaid gardening work in the recreation ground.

And when the boy met the playground committee, he also donated £100 of his money to them.

The boy’s mother said; “It was dealt with sensitively and with understanding. I was really impressed with PC Collins and how he handled my son.

“It was a stupid mistake made on impulse and it was nice that the Council could see that, so the manner in which it was dealt with made it easier for everyone.

“My son was relieved to go through the process as he felt so bad about what he had done and it relieved his conscience. The meeting we had with the committee he found really beneficial and productive. “

Parish Councillor Bruni Llovet said; “The playground committee raised the money for the playground equipment and it was only a few months old, so to be targeted like that was really upsetting.

“It was a lot of vandalism and a horrible thing to happen.

“We didn’t want to prosecute him and liked the idea of Community Resolution, but we’d donated the equipment to the Parish Council so it was up to them to decide.

“They also felt this was the right choice, allowing us to agree the terms.

We felt that if we met him and he had to face us, he would really going to learn the impact of what he did.

“PC Collins managed that meeting really well.  We were pleased with how it went and it was a better process than him getting a criminal record which could affect him later on, with things like university applications.”

Community resolution gives the victim the chance to tell the offenders about the real impact of their crime, to get answers to their questions and to receive an apology. It gives the offenders the chance to understand the real consequences of what they’ve done and to do something to repair the harm. It can only be used if both the victim and the offender agree to participate in the process.

It also give police officers the option of dealing with some types of incidents, usually low level crime and anti-social behaviour, without having to go through the criminal justice system.