Peter Brannigan of Police Service Northern Ireland has obtained the Level 4 Diploma in Restorative Practice – a qualification he volunteered to undertake.
While sitting the qualification, Mr Brannigan worked closely with community groups in Northern Ireland, including Community Restorative Justice Ireland, and was assessed by community scheme managers.
Restorative practice gives victims the opportunity to look offenders in the eye and explain to them the real impact the crime has had on their life.
Dr Mary Magee, of the Time Out Northern Ireland Centre where Mr Brannigan sat his qualification, said a policeman taking such a qualification was particularly unique with many areas of Northern Ireland historically preferring to engage with paramilitary organisations to address issues, rather than the police.
However, communities are now looking for new ways to foster relationships with the police and finding non-violent ways to tackle restorative justice.
Following on from Mr Brannigan’s success, it is hoped that more members of the police will undertake such qualifications.
Mr Brannigan, who now has a primary role within the restorative justice sector, was awarded his qualification at a ceremony in March attended by Justice Minister David Ford.