Tom Moore, UK to DK, October 2013
At the beginning of October 2013 a multi-agency team of professionals dedicated to the principles of restorative justice travelled as a group to Denmark. One of the visitors, a police sergeant from Leicestershire represented the 2,100 police officers in Leicestershire (213,000 in the U.K) policing 63 million people in an area covering 244k square kilometres.
In contrast, Denmark has a police force with 10,000 trained police officers, policing 5.6 million people in an area covering 43k square kilometres, with one police officer for every 570 people, in the U.K the ratio is 1 to 295. The issue of scale is significant but not alone, the basis upon which policing is delivered is entirely different. Policing in the U.K depends entirely upon the consent of the public; Denmark has a fully armed police service.
The differences ended there, with strong similarities between approaches to policing, particularly young people, becoming quickly evident. The desire to become involved with young people and their families at the earliest opportunity to ensure the best outcomes exists in Svendborg and Leicestershire alike.
Evidence that fully integrated partnership working, education, health, street based work, early intervention and a strong provision for youth engagement played a routine part in the policing approach in Denmark bearing striking similarity to the U.K with restorative justice featuring strongly in both approaches.
The international partnership work with the dedicated professionals in Svendborg has provided, and will continue to provide an international community of practice built upon shared values that will make sharing good practice easier and in the full knowledge that restorative justice works.