Axis Security and Woking Shopping have teamed up with The Surrey Youth Support Service (YSS) within Surrey County Council to implement a new restorative justice initiative designed to tackle retail theft in Woking’s shopping centre.
The aim of the Woking Shopping initiative being led by John Sephton, Security Manager for Axis Security, is to reduce re-offending rates in retail theft by showing offenders how their actions could affect their later life, and to demonstrate the consequences of theft for retailers.
The initiative is targeted at young people between the ages of 14 and 19, and following an offence, the young person is given a contract to apologise to the stores affected by either a face to face meeting or by way of a letter of apology.
Restorative justice is an approach that focuses on giving the offender an understanding of the consequences of a given crime, and forcing them to face up to their victims, rather than using more traditional legal punishments. A recent research programme, conducted by the Ministry of Justice over a seven-year period, found that re-offending rates dropped significantly when restorative justice is used.
After the approach by YSS, John was keen to implement the scheme and use it to reduce theft rates in the shopping centre. “The impact of this approach is powerful. Retailers are given the opportunity to explain how theft affects them, in a controlled manner and offenders are forced to face the consequences of their actions head on.
“Shopping centres offer a perfect opportunity to engage with young people, and I’m confident that this scheme will assist Axis Security in offering Woking Shopping increased levels of security, and an improved shopping environment for visitors.”
Jonathan Levine, Axis Group CEO says that the scheme’s implementation is evidence of Axis Security’s commitment to looking for new and innovative ways of increasing security: “We are pleased to be working with Woking Shopping and to have the opportunity to pilot this promising scheme, theft is a big problem for retailers and we hope that this initiative will further improve the services that we offer our shopping centre clients.”