Offenders carry out £800,000 of work in Fife

Land next to Salvation Army hall in Lochgelly transformed into a community garden by people on community payback orders.
Land next to Salvation Army hall in Lochgelly transformed into a community garden by people on community payback orders.

Primary school classrooms have been painted and parks tided up as part of Community Payback Orders (CPO) handed out by courts.

The cost of the un-paid work came to £769, 690.

At the Dunfermline area committee on Tuesday, Stuart MacArthur, team manager for the service, said that worked out at 3690 hours of work carried out by offenders.

There was also an increase in the number of CPOs imposed in 2018-19 to 1037 – up from 894 the year before.

Almost 86 per cent of the orders were given to mnen.

Mr MacArthur said: “There has been a slight increase of 143 CPOs this year, but we have been using them to assist on a number of projects with agencies to help fill the gaps.”

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Cllr Ian Ferguson praised the scheme, saying: “It is a fantastic benefit in terms of financial terms.

“It seems from feedback that the scheme is helping those involved.”

Mr MacArthur noted that the feedback from those carrying out CPOs had been largely positive, with 72 per cent saying their attitude to offending had changed during the community work.

He added: “There are other elements that we look at.If someone carrying out the order is suffering from alcohol or drug addictions, we have agencies we can refer them to.

“They can also pick up a number of skills, which can help with employment after the CPO is completed. There are a number of broader things too we look at to help reduce re-offending.”

Mr MacArthur said they have had particular success in partnership with the Safe Drive, Stay Alive campaign, for people with road traffic offences.

He said: “We have had people who have been through the system, who go into schools and speak not only about their experiences with the system, but the offence itself. You hear some very moving, very heartbreaking stories.

“But it’s particularly empowering to hear people speak who have gone through this, and rebuilt their lives.

“We know we’re on the right track when we have people who have managed to sustain their lives.”