Vote on criminals' tasks

by Alex Wellman Civil rights groups have blasted Government plans to parade petty criminals in luminous jackets in the borough. Human rights group Liberty has branded the Community Payback scheme degra

by Alex Wellman

Civil rights groups have blasted Government plans to parade petty criminals in luminous jackets in the borough.

Human rights group Liberty has branded the Community Payback scheme 'degrading' and called for it to be scrapped.

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Under proposals criminals would have to undertake community service in bright orange 'shame jackets' which the Government say could act as a deterrent.

A Liberty spokeswoman said: "These schemes are degrading and are a poor way to teach respect. If the goal of the scheme is to demonstrate 'justice in action' surely this could be achieved simply by putting up a plaque to say that the work was undertaken by offenders on community service?

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"Of course people want to know that community service is a real punishment and not a soft option but the degrading aspects of this scheme have no place in a civilised society."

Under a new proposal, offenders will also be made to clean an area determined by a public vote on the internet.

Government chiefs said the plan it was an excellent opportunity for the public to know offenders are doing to right wrongs.

Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw said: "It's crucial that the public - the taxpayer - has a say in what community punishments offenders receive. People have a right to know what offenders are doing in their neighbourhood to repay for the wrongs committed.

"We are determined to open up the justice system. Recent steps to do this include the appointment of a dedicated Victims Champion, giving distinctive orange jackets to offenders and now ensuring the public knows they have a say in punishing offenders."

In Brent the areas up for the vote are The Grand Union Canal which needs litter clearance, Albert Road children's playground in Kilburn which needs graffiti removed and Lancelot Avenue in Wembley which also needs graffiti removed as well as a clean-up.

One Tree Hill Park in Wembley is on the list too which needs graffiti removed and a touch up and finally the park on the corner of Furness Road and Harrow Road which also needs graffiti removed, dumped rubbish removed and a new coat of paint.

In Camden votes will be counted for the Webheath Estate in Netherwood Street, Kilburn, which needs maintenance for its front gardens and the Black Path and Lithos Passage, which both join West End Lane in West Hampstead to Finchley Road and are in need of graffiti clearance and litter removal.

Also up for the vote is Fortune Green Park in West Hampstead which needs a coat of paint on railings as is Camden Arts Centre in Arkwright Road, West Hampstead, which needs rubbish removed and finally Camley Street to Maiden Lane Estate and Agar Grove pathway in Camden Town which needs rubbish and graffiti cleared, undergrowth cut back and painting.

In Hammersmith and Fulham the areas up for the vote are Wormwood Scrubs in Hammersmith which needs maintenance work and cleaning and the Wormholt Estates in White City which needs hedge trimming and communal areas cleaned.

Ravenscourt Park in Ravenscourt Road, Hammersmith, is also up for the vote as it needs a total overhaul including litter picking, foliage clearing and general maintenance as is St. Paul's Open Space and St. Mary's Church Yard in Hammersmith Road, Hammersmith, which needs flowers planted, ground weeding and bushes pruning while finally Lillie Road Recreational Grounds in Fulham which needs deep cleaning of the fields and hedge trimming.

Voting ends on April 24 at midnight and to cast yours visit

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