Community service scheme to go ahead


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Plans to put offenders out where they can be seen doing community work are being rushed ahead as part of the Government's drive to show that petty crime does not pay.

Those who commit minor offences when they are unemployed will be required to do at least 28 hours of hard work over four days, with the fifth day set aside for job-seeking, the Prisons minister Crispin Blunt confirmed yesterday.

They will also be set to work more quickly than in the past – within a week of being sentenced rather than two weeks, he added. The proposals were first set out in a government green paper published in June.

The Ministry of Justice said that 100,000 offenders a year are sentenced to take part in Community Payback schemes in England and Wales, and between them do some 8.8 million hours of unpaid work.

Speaking in Croydon, Mr Blunt said: "If you are unemployed and on Community Payback, you shouldn't be sitting idle at home watching daytime television or hanging about with your mates on a street corner, you should be out paying back to your community through hard, honest work."