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Probation maps a smart future for Community Payback
Staffordshire and West Midlands (SWM) Probation Trust has invented an app to help the public choose what Community Payback work criminals do.

Catherine Holland, Chief Executive of Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust, says: "The public want to see offenders giving something back to their communities and this app will make that quicker and easier."

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 pay back for the crimes they have committed.

Using the free app Get Community Payback, which works on all Android phones, anyone can take a photo of a "grotspot" in their local area and send it directly to their local Probation Trust. The app will "geo-tag" the photo, giving it an exact geographical reference that will enable Probation 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 of pictures and information about Community Payback projects in the local area.

The three-person SWM Probation team a Community Payback manager, an IT designer and a data analyst - won the funding to develop their idea and launch the app from the Ordnance Survey's GeoVation challenge competition in June 2012.

Team spokesman Jason Davies 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."

1. To download the Get Community Payback app, go to

2. To see a video about how the Get Community Payback app works, go to

3. To download photos of Community Payback projects in your area, see:

4. There are other ways of suggesting projects for offenders to work on while carrying out their Community Payback. The public can phone or email their local Probation Trust. In Staffordshire and West Midlands, call 0121 248 2688 or go to

5. 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

6. For more information about Ordnance Survey's GeoVation challenge, see
Posted On:  22 October, 2013
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