A pilot project designed to speed up the punishment of low level offenders sentenced to a Community Payback Order has seen encouraging results during its first nine months, with 92% of offenders on the pilot sent out to pay back the community within 24 hours, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has said.

Early initial results also show that 98% are starting their manual labour within seven days.

The ‘one stop shop’ system involved community service and social work staff being housed directly opposite Glasgow Sheriff Court, meaning offenders can be transferred immediately from the dock down to be assessed, allocated, and then taken directly to their first community payback work squad placement.

The pilot is being funded by the Scottish Government in response to a determination by Ministers to speed up the current system to ensure low level offenders are sent out to repay their dues to the community swiftly.

A full evaluation will take place at the end of the pilot period, but if successful, the model could be replicated elsewhere in Scotland.