A tour of the cells at Buxton Police Station was part of the punishment a 14-year-old boy received for throwing a young girl’s mobile phone into the river at the Pavilion Gardens.
That was one of more than 12,000 crimes in Derbyshire dealt with by Restorative Justice – an initiative launched to reduce bureaucracy and deal swiftly with minor crime - since April 2009.
Under the scheme, crimes are dealt with in accordance with the victims’ wishes without the case going through the court process. The crime is recorded as usual but dealt with in a more proportionate way.
During the incident in the Pavilion gardens last month, a 12-year-old girl was with friends in the park when some of the group took her mobile phone and threw it around. It fell in the river.
A 12-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy agreed to pay for the phone and the boy, who had come to police attention previously, was taken on a tour of the cells by officers.
Superintendent Terry Branson said: “If a victim requests an alternative to the criminal justice system to deal with local minor crime, officers use their professional judgement to resolve the incident.
“Restorative Justice saves thousands of officer hours, reduces re-offending rates and most importantly, provides satisfaction for victims of crime.
“People dealt with in this way often see their actions as a wake-up call and do not go on to commit further crimes.”
Supt Branson added: “It is purely voluntary which both the victim and the offender must agree to.
“It can also be used to deal with conflict wherever it arises, for example after neighbourhood disputes or anti-social behaviour.”