Edinburgh University study says offenders need help

INCREASED availability of social work referral schemes could help cut re-offending for crimes where it is not in the public interest to prosecute, according to a new study.

Better communication and working relationships between procurators fiscal and social workers could also reduce re-offending rates, researchers at Edinburgh University claim.

The study reviewed patterns in referrals from procurators fiscal to diversion schemes such as counselling or rehabilitation, over the past five years.

Researchers found there was varied use of social work services by criminal justice authorities across Scotland.

Sarah Macqueen from Edinburgh University’s School of Law, who co-authored the report, said: “This situation could be improved by increasing the availability of diversion schemes and improving working relationships between fiscals and social workers.”