GeoVation winner, Staffordshire and West Midlands (SWM) Probation Trust, have launched a new app to help the public choose what Community Payback work offenders do.
The new app called ‘Get Community Payback’ was one of four winners in the 2012 GeoVation Challenge to transform Britain’s neighbourhoods and was awarded £41,000 from Ordnance Survey to develop the idea.
Probation Trusts across England and Wales run the successful and popular Community Payback scheme. Across Staffordshire and the West Midlands, over 612,000 hours of Community Payback were completed last year by over 4,500 offenders on a community sentence. This equates to over three and a half million pounds’ worth of free labour provided to local communities as offenders payback for the crimes they have committed.
The free app works on all Android phones and allows users to take a photo of a “grotspot” in their local area for offenders to work on. The image, which is automatically geo-tagged giving it an exact geographic reference, is then sent directly to their local Probation Trust to accurately pinpoint the location.
Community Payback projects include litter picking, clearing dense undergrowth, repairing and redecorating community centres and removing graffiti. If the work is suitable for offenders to do*, Probation will arrange for them to go out and do it.
When the work has been done, the app will automatically notify the person who suggested the work. It will also show them a map with pictures and information about Community Payback projects in the local area.
Jason Davies from SWM Probation team said “This app is free and it’s easy to use. We hope it will make the public feel more engaged in decision-making and make the punishment and rehabilitation of offenders more visible and meaningful to people in their communities.”
Get Community Payback is an excellent example of how the GeoVation Challenge can support new ventures. The new app highlights how mapping, geography and innovation can help communities and organisations work together to tackle real world challenges. I am confident that the new app will make a real difference to Staffordshire and West Midlands
*To be considered for Community Payback, a project must meet the following criteria:
- It must benefit the local community
- It must not take paid work away from others
- No-one must make a profit from the work
- It must be challenging and demanding
- It must be worthwhile and constructive
- Offenders must be seen to be putting something back into the community