This case was referred by a Police Constable for Avon and Somerset youth team. The incident was one of theft by a youth of a tips jar at the coffee shop where the victim worked. The youth had been in company with his peers and they went into staff quarters when the victim was alone closing the coffee shop. The tip jar was stolen, but put back by the offender, when the victim tried to stop him leaving. A hot chocolate was also pushed out of her hand.
It was decided that the matter should be resolved by using restorative justice (RJ). Preparatory conversations took place between facilitator and victim/offender. It was also decided to involve the youth’s mother. The RJ was arranged for 10am at the victim’s convenience. It was held at the incident location during the victim’s shift so as not to impact upon her spare time.
The offender is banned from the coffee shop and this still stands, but he was permitted entry solely for the RJ process as he was accompanied by police staff. The offender was keen to apologize and welcomed the RJ process.
The conference began with introductions and the victim started to say how the incident made her feel; this was very powerful as she explained the lasting effect it had upon her. She wasn’t just financially at a loss she was fearful and worried. She no longer can work a closing shift as she doesn’t want to be alone in the shop in case anything like this should happen again. This had also had an impact on her colleagues as they have had to amend working rotas. The victim also pointed out that the hot chocolate, which spilt over her was an accident. There were tears from the offender’s mother as the victim was speaking.
The offender did admit the theft of the tip jar, taking it and concealing it under his jacket before returning it. He was given the opportunity to talk openly and fully apologized to the victim for what he did and had suggested to his Mum during the car journey to the conference that he buy a sorry card and flowers for the victim.
The victim accepted the offer and apology and also highlighted that she didn’t like that the offender was arrested as he was so young and she didn’t want him to go down a similar path to someone she knows with regards to criminal behaviour. It was then highlighted however that the offender’s behaviour was the result the arrest, which he accepted and took responsibility for.
The conference had a very successful outcome with the issue of theft being concluded and a successful agreement drawn where offender agreed to no longer enter the premises, buy flowers to signify his remorse and stay away from the two peers involved in the incident. Both offender and victim signed the agreement.
When the offender and victim were asked how they now felt at the conclusion of the conference, both said they felt better. The victim also queried whether the mother had issued any consequences to her son for the incident and his mother explained she had taken privileges away. The victim was satisfied that he had been dealt with appropriately. A line was then drawn under the incident with both offender and victim moving forward with an agreement in place.
For further details please contact Jo Quinton (Neighbourhood Justice
Coordinator) on 0117 952 9742