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Applying your community engagement skills
Applying your community engagement skills

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7 Justice, fairness and mediation

Despite several months of concerted effort by police and social workers, It is becoming increasingly apparent that the drug problem both in the flats and on the street is worsening. More and more people are coming into the area looking to buy drugs and seeking out places to inject. This is leading to greater levels of anti-social behaviour and increased risk for vulnerable people living locally, including both the young and the elderly.

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Figure 8 The sight of people sleeping rough or under the influence of narcotics can be quite scary for vulnerable members of the community

During a recent fight, the doors at the entrance to the flat complex were kicked in and a brick was thrown through a window. As the fight was caught on CCTV, both the police and local community leaders know who was involved in the fight and was responsible for the damage caused. The primary culprits were local youths who have recently become involved with some low-level criminality, including street dealing.

The local residents have had enough and are demanding that action is taken. As a local police officer they are looking to you to take the lead and bring the full rigours of the law to bear, ensuring not only that justice is done, but also that it is seen to be done. But what kind of justice?

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Figure 9 The local environment has become blighted by anti-social behaviour

While most people are familiar with the idea of legal sanctions applied through the courts, there are of course other ways to approach justice. In the course Justice, fairness and mediation [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] you were introduced to a range of forms of justice. These included:

  • Restorative justice
  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • Mediation

Activity 8 Forms of justice: advantages and disadvantages

Reflect on the situation outlined, or similar situations you may have been involved with.

Based on both your experience and what you learned in the Justice, fairness and mediation course, list the advantages, disadvantages and potential impacts of each of the three forms of justice discussed.

You should try to consider each not just from your own perspective, but also from the perspective of the community members directly impacted by the anti-social behaviour described.

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