Cleaner streets drive
Teams of low-level offenders are to be sent out to target and remove unsightly chewing gum from pavements in Fife as part of work to pay back communities for the damage they have done.
The ‘Community Payback’ initiative is the first of its kind in Scotland and has been developed by Fife Council’s Criminal Justice Social Work team in direct response to frustrations expressed by communities.
The initiative was today praised by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and follows laws brought in which mean local communities can have a direct say on the type of work they want to see low level offenders doing as part of their Community Payback sentences.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:
“The ugly sight of blotches of chewing gum littering our pavements is unfortunately a common problem for many communities up and down the country.
“It’s a bugbear for many, people want to see something being done about it, and this project will now see action being taken to clean up our streets for the benefit of the community.
“The council and street cleaners do their best, but finding the resources and labour required to return pavements to the condition the community expect is often a real struggle.
“We should be using these offenders as a resource to make improvements to local communities as pay back for the damage they have done and Fife Council are to be congratulated for this initiative.
“As part of street cleaning duties to remove rubbish and graffiti, we’ll now see them being put to good use, bringing our streets back to the standard people expect by removing unsightly chewing gum and this is a worthwhile project.
“Those on Community Payback Orders can be utilised in many ways, and we’ve seen offenders out clearing paths of snow and ice during bad weather, renovating elderly care homes and we’ve seen them repairing fallen gravestones.
"We’ve recently brought in new laws meaning that local communities can now have a say on the type of manual labour they want to see low-level offenders carrying out in their local areas. Communities across the country can now identify the local priorities which need work doing and get offenders out doing them for the benefit of the community. Whatever the local priority, I’d urge people to get in touch with their local Criminal Justice Social Work team or Community Justice Authority if they want action being taken.”
Councillor Judy Hamilton, Executive Spokesperson for Social Work and Health, Fife Council said:
"I am pleased to see an imaginative dispersal of funds into this, as one of a wide range of projects that will see real benefits in our communities; and am particularly pleased to welcome this initiative this morning in Kirkcaldy. I would like to thank our own Community Payback project officers and the work that they do in delivering the projects in our communities."
Councillor Margaret Kennedy, Convenor of the Fife and Forth Valley Community Justice Authority said:
"I am delighted to see the results of the disbursement of monies received by the CJA being put to good use. In particular, as the funds were raised from the proceeds of crime."
The latest official statistics show that sending low level offenders out on community service is far more effective in stopping further crime than a short term prison sentence. Over 73 percent of offenders imprisoned for three months or less will re-offend within two years compared to just 38 percent of those who receive community service.