CRIMINALS will be spared a court appearance if they agree to join Street Angels on patrol in Hull city centre.
In a bid to free-up the court system, minor criminals will be shown the graphic consequences of drug and alcohol misuse.
The High Sheriffs and Humberside Police Tribune Trust – a charitable organisation – has provided Hull Street Angels Trinity (HSAT) with £2,500.
About half of the cash will be spent on helping divert first-time offenders away from the courts.
Criminals will instead join volunteers on the streets of Hull's Old Town on Friday and Saturday nights.
Developed at the request of Humberside Police as a form of community payback, the scheme will see offenders join the volunteers.
Paul Cheeseman, honorary director of the Tribune Trust, which comprises representatives from the emergency services, said: "Tribune trustees are hugely impressed with the work of Hull Street Angels Trinity.
"Their volunteers already ease the burden on the police, ambulance, health service, council and traders by keeping those who use the Trinity Quarter safe during the evening.
"This new initiative uses their volunteers and will help provide a short and valuable lesson to those who misbehave for the first time in a way that does not take up police or court time."
HSAT is a registered charity. Its volunteers, who are equipped with radios linking them with CCTV operators, patrol the streets each Friday and Saturday, from 10pm to 2am.
They listen and talk to revellers, door staff, licensees and members of the emergency services, with the aim of helping make the city safer.
In particular, volunteers help revellers who have drunk too much by handing out bottled water and ensuring they get home safely.
Karen Marshall, chair of the Hull Street Angels Trinity, said: "My understanding of this project is that it offers people who have never offended before a chance to see through the looking glass and avoid a criminal record because they had been drinking too much.
"It means that they have a chance to avoid an experience that could affect their future career prospects. It is a voluntary choice for these individuals.
"Any individual who is already in the criminal system will not be allowed to participate.
"We will be helping individuals to hopefully learn from a mistake and avoid becoming a part of the criminal justice system."
• Visit hullstreetangelstrinity.org.uk for further information about their work.
Grants for projects to tackle crime and disorder
THE Tribune Trust is an endowment fund registered with the Charities Commission.
Trustees are local people including former, current and future High Sheriffs, the Chief Constable of Humberside Police and the Chief Officer of Humberside Fire and Rescue Service.
Business and public sector leaders are also members.
The trust provides small grants for community projects established to tackle crime and disorder when such projects are not supported by mainstream funding or when they require additional financial support.