Ken Clarke is very keen on restorative justice, if we are to believe reports that criminals will be let out of jail early if they say sorry to their victims. Restorative justice is an important way for criminals to realise the human cost of their crimes. And it also happens to save the ministry quite a few bob on prison costs, of course. So it’s no wonder the MoJ chose to highlight a tale of heroism by some offenders serving a community punishment recently. The group were clearing Stoneydown Park in East London as part of the Community Payback scheme when they were approached by a woman who had just had her bag snatched. They chased the thief, managed to get the bag back, and returned it to its rightful owner – doing their bit for society. Community Payback supervisor Gary Hall had high praise for the ‘brilliant’ team who did ‘a real public service’. But he confessed: ‘When I first saw my lads dashing up the road, I half thought they might be doing a runner.’