Restorative Justice Approaches to Organised Crime Groups

A Staff Exchange between Durham Constabulary and University of Sheffield investigated the views of stakeholders to assess the feasibility of using restorative justice approaches with OCGs.

Full Report


Dr Nikki D’Souza (then an officer with Durham Constabulary) and Dr Xavier L’Hoiry (University of Sheffield) interviewed 16 imprisoned offenders, 13 victims of organised crime, 15 experts in restorative approaches, and analysed local Force polices on restorative approaches and intelligence on local OCGs. 

The research found willingness and support across all stakeholder groups for the use of restorative approaches involving organised crime offenders and victims, albeit with varying degrees of enthusiasm and in the case of offenders, varying degrees of acknowledgment of the impact of their offending.

Key Findings 

There is little evidence of RA being used in the context of organised crime offending to date.

All stakeholder groups consulted in this research expressed some degree of enthusiasm and willingness for the prospect of pursuing RA in relation to organised crime offending.

Organised crime offenders were overwhelmingly enthusiastic and provided a wide range of reasons for their willingness to participate in RA. However, some offenders showed a lack of understanding of the harm and victimisation caused by their offences, raising questions as to their immediate suitability for RA processes.

Victims of organised crime offending were broadly sceptical and resistant to the prospect of undertaking RA with organised crime offenders for a number of reasons. However, despite this scepticism, some victims were nevertheless open to the prospect of entering into RA processes with organised crime offenders.

RA practitioners and experts showed high levels of enthusiasm for the proposal of extending the use of RA to new and innovative contexts including organised crime activity. Before such extensions can be undertaken however, practitioners and experts emphasised the importance of tailored training, guidance and safeguarding to ensure that the complex nature of organised crime offending and victimisation is recognised.

Research was conducted by Dr Nikki D’Souza (then an officer with Durham Constabulary) and Dr Xavier L’Hoiry (Sheffield University). 

Report date: July 2017.