Offenders were used for snow clearance work
March 14, 2018 – Offenders sentenced to Community Payback Orders at the local sheriff and Justice of the Peace courts were involved in the snow clearing operations in West Dunbartonshire.
This year the service, which is dealt with through the Health and Social Care Partnership, has received 41 orders and is busier than ever.
One of these referrals was transferred to another local authority and the majority of remaining 40 were allocated within one day of the order being imposed.
CPOs are used by judges as an alternative to imposing prison sentences and where it is considered that the offender would not be able to pay a fine.
There was a suggestion that the system was not operating smoothly, but this has been refuted.
A spokesperson for the HSCP said: “We haven’t received any orders for March as yet. The court has experienced the same disruption to service due to the weather conditions.”
Individuals on Community Payback Orders (CPO) can be asked to complete different tasks depending on their experience, skills, health and ability.
Recently teams were out assisting Council staff to clear snow from pavements and paths at public buildings. She added: “Where a CPO has been imposed by the court the individual is responsible to ensure that they make themselves available to complete the order.
“If they breach it, the court can impose additional penalties including imprisonment.
“We stipulate that anyone subject to a CPO start and complete their hours as soon as possible as the stability of unpaid work has shown to bring structure to the individuals lives, along with the skills and confidence developed can lead to other opportunities.
“While we have received very positive feedback for the unpaid work carried out across West Dunbartonshire by the individuals and their supervisors, we are always keen to hear from local groups or organisations who may have ideas for new projects that would be suitable under a CPO that could be considered by the team.”
The report from the HSCP to West Dunbartonshire Council said: “We have experienced a high level of demand in our Criminal Justice Services and are working hard to deal with the significant case load.
“To address this, we have recruited two new employees and placed social work staff to work in the court three days a week.
“In addition, we have assigned a criminal justice officer to assist in the allocation of community payback orders two days a week.
“We are confident we will be able to recruit an additional Social Worker.
“In addition to the measures taken, we will be in a better position to meet the increased demands on the service.”