Punishment has positive effect on the community
Criminals from Bath are helping to keep the city tidy by serving out their community punishment in the city.
Over the past year more than 1,500 man-hours have been put into improving Bath through the Community Payback initiative.
The scheme, run by Bath Business Improvement District (BID) and Avon and Somerset Probation Trust, ensures people convicted of criminal offences in the city make amends on their own doorstep through community service.
Since August 2011, 42 Community Payback days have been held in Bath, with teams of offenders painting bollards, lampposts and railings, as well as weeding, picking up litter and cleaning benches and bins.
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Jeremy Britton, Community Payback manager for Avon and Somerset Probation Trust, said the scheme enabled essential work to be done and serve as punishment for offenders.
He said: "It is important that the public have confidence in community sentencing and are able to witness justice in action.
"Previously, there were some concerns that not enough was being undertaken in Bath. This partnership with the Bath BID has helped us address those concerns."
BID – a project to improve the city with money levied on businesses – provides the cost of the materials for the work and pays £90 per day to have the offenders properly supervised. The scheme is also part-funded by Bath and North East Somerset Council.
BID manager Andrew Cooper said: "By working with the judicial system in this way, we are ensuring that Bath gets something back from the people who have been convicted at its court. From the city centre to the riverside, a great number of improvements have been carried out."
Last week a group of 12 magistrates visited a Community Payback day in Queen Square, where a team of offenders was painting the railings.
Richard Curry, chairman of the Bath and Wansdyke Magistrates' bench, said: "This is an excellent way for the offenders to do good in the community as well as gaining a worthwhile opportunity to learn new skills which will benefit not just the community but hopefully help them to discover wider talents."
He added: "Community Payback is often viewed by the public as a soft option but in Bath it is gaining a better public perception as they see the real community benefits and offenders in action."