The Community Court, operating across Basingstoke and Deane, Hart and Rushmoor, is an initiative aimed at diverting, supporting and educating first-time respondents away from crime through a peer-led court hearing. It empowers young people to formulate sanctions for other young people who have committed minor offences, putting victims at the heart of the criminal justice process.
Hampshire Constabulary refers suitable cases to the court, and a panel of volunteers listen to the facts of the case, as well as acting as advocates for the respondent and for the victim. Both the respondent and victim are invited and advocates are allocated to support them through the process. The panel then hears from both sides and hears about the impact of the incident, before deciding on appropriate interventions for the young person. The panel then uses a set of criteria to decide which outcome would be the most appropriate in the circumstances. Possible outcomes include an apology letter, referral to diversionary activities, reparation and a face-to-face apology.