A WELL-known UK community reform champion has gained a personal insight into the proposed modernisation of the Isle of Man criminal justice system.
Baroness Newlove, who visited the island last week at the invitation of Home Affairs Minister Juan Watterson MHK, discussed a range of issues with members of the Isle of Man Criminal Justice Board.
She also met representatives of government and voluntary agencies involved in dealing with young offenders, supporting the victims of crime and tackling alcohol-related challenges.
Baroness Newlove came to prominence in 2007 after her husband Garry was murdered outside the family home by a gang of alcohol and drug-fuelled youths.
After his death she campaigned to tackle antisocial behaviour and the UK’s binge-drinking culture, and has since become a respected and high-profile figure in the drive to create safer communities.
Her work was recognised by the award of a peerage on the 2010 Dissolution Honours list, and she sits in the House of Lords as Baroness Newlove of Warrington in the County of Cheshire.
She is currently working with 20 communities across England, aiming to inspire people to take a more active role in making their neighbourhoods better places to live.
Baroness Newlove met Minister Watterson at a criminal justice conference in London earlier this year and has taken a keen interest in proposals to reform the Manx criminal justice system.
A national strategy launched in the island in October explores a number of issues, including alternative approaches to sentencing such as restorative and community justice. The focus is on improving outcomes for both victims and offenders, and ensuring the island’s criminal justice system is more effective and fit for the future.
Baroness Newlove talked about her experiences and vision for safe and active communities during a meeting with members of the Isle of Man Criminal Justice Board, which comprises the heads of the Constabulary, General Registry, Attorney General’s Chambers, and the Prison and Probation Service, together with representation from the Law Society.
She also spoke to representatives from the Youth Justice Team, Licensing Unit, Probation Service, and Victim Support to learn about their work to enhance community safety in the Island.
Baroness Newlove, the UK Government’s Champion for Active Safer Communities, said: ‘My visit has been very positive and productive and I’ve been impressed by some of the work that is taking place in the island.
‘There is a real sense of community in the Isle of Man and it has been fascinating to see how different people and organisations are working together to achieve a common goal.’
Minister Watterson said: ‘It was a great privilege to host this visit by a campaigner who works tirelessly to enrich the lives of young people and make UK communities safer places to live.
‘She spoke with great passion and conviction about her work and was also interested to learn more about the proposed reforms to our criminal justice system.
‘We need to move forward creatively and consider new ideas, so it was extremely valuable to hear Baroness Newlove’s views on a range of issues.’