Our Mayor has suggested that restorative justice would be a good way of facing looters with the consequences of their actions. Speaking after this morning’s COBRA meeting, the Mayor of London said that young people involved in last week’s riots would lose their rights to things like free travel, but could earn them back through restorative justice programmes, like his Payback London scheme.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “One thing we want to explore and what we were just talking about just now in Cobra, is to look at all sorts of ways so that young people in particular who’ve been involved in rioting and looting do not simply walk out and wave two fingers to the authorities and say, ‘Well I enjoyed all that, and I haven’t got anything to worry about’ or take it as a badge of honour.
“There are some very productive things that can come from this and so we are going to look at restorative justice options, we’re looking at ideas about sending them to PRUs rather than straight back to schools, for instance those in London who have the benefit of free travel will lose their right to free travel as a result of being involved in these riots. But they can earn it back if they do good in their communities.
“There already are schemes, a Payback London scheme for people to earn back their right to free travel. We may want to develop that, to intensify it, in order to take into account of the large numbers of looters and rioters.”
Payback London was launched in August 2009 by Boris Johnson and is a scheme where teenagers who have had their free travel taken away earn it back through community service.”
There is a symmetry and sense of fairness and rightness in what Boris suggests. At this time of crisis, fortunately averted for the moment, London has never needed our Mayor’s empathy, probing intelligence and sense of fairness more.