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Criminals to fill County’s potholes

Criminals in Gloucestershire could soon find themselves filling in potholes in the County’s roads and pavements, under new plans for Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Nelson.

The new initiative would see tyre-damaging craters filled by people on probation and sentenced to do unpaid work, as part of a Community Payback scheme.

Mr Nelson, who has been Police and Crime Commissioner since 2021, has pledged to work with the Probation Service and the County’s highways Department to get the initiative up and running, as part of a joint pledge made by all five South West Conservative Police and Crime Commissioners.

He said: “Community Payback is a great way for justice to be seen to be done, improve our communities and is shown to be more likely to cut reoffending. I’ve really championed Community Payback since I’ve become PCC, including setting up a rapid response team in Gloucestershire to quickly clear up ‘grot spots’.

“Volunteers already fill potholes in Devon, so why can’t we get convicted criminals to do it here in Gloucestershire to make a real improvement to our community that thousands of people will be able to benefit from? It’s a win-win.”

Alex Chalk, MP for Cheltenham and Secretary of State for Justice, said: “For some time now I have been working with Probation to make community service for offenders more responsive and more relevant to the needs of our communities.

“I fully support the groundbreaking work of the Police and Crime Commissioners in the South West to find a way of using those on community service to fill potholes, and provide a real service to the people of Cheltenham and millions of motorists.”

The five commissioners (Mark Shelford – Avon and Somerset, Alison Hernandez – Devon and Cornwall, David Sidwick – Dorset, Chris Nelson – Gloucestershire, Philip Wilkinson – Wiltshire) have a track record of fixing societal problems through justice solutions.

Their Prisoners’ Building Homes Programme currently has 100 prisoners employed building modular homes in factories close to prisons. The ‘workers’ are on day release from the prisons to create what will be 82 homes for those on the homeless register with local authorities across the region.

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