Stephen Farry stated: “On balance, these protocols mark a significant step forward in the regulation of community restorative justice schemes. Until now such schemes, have operated without regulation, raising legitimate questions about due process and respect for human rights and the rule of law. If implemented, these new protocols would require significant changes in the policy and practices of all of the current schemes.
“There are marked improvements compared to earlier drafts. It is clear that the police are now going to be central to such schemes, and that CRJ schemes can not deal with cases without referrals passing through the police and prosecution service.
“However, there are still some weaknesses in these protocols. The other work of CRJ organisations dealing with non-criminal anti-social behaviour is not to be regulated. There is inevitably an overlap between such work and involvement with criminal cases, and the conduct with respect to one impacts on credibility in dealing with the other.
“Any Community Restorative Justice scheme that does not accept these protocols, but continues to operate should fall under heavy scrutiny from the lawful authorities.”