PEOPLE in Kirklees are to be given a chance to say how criminals should be punished.

A website will allow the public to vote on community service schemes for criminals.

And it could mean that a vandalised community play area in Huddersfield is cleaned up by offenders.

Users will be able to suggest what work they want offenders to carry out in their area. The most popular will be adopted by the probation service.

The Ministry of Justice said the pilots, which cover 54 areas including Kirklees, will give the public a say in punishments. The Tories called for proper sentences not ‘gimmicks’.

The changes are aimed at encouraging more public involvement in the justice system..

More than 55,000 criminals carry out community service every year.

A Mori poll carried out by the Justice department found the public want offenders to do outdoor manual work such as cleaning the streets.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw said: “It’s crucial that the public – the taxpayer – has a say in what community punishments offenders receive.

“People have a right to know what offenders are doing to repay the wrongs committed.

“We are determined to open up the justice system. Recent steps to do this include the appointment of a dedicated Victims Champion, giving distinctive orange jackets to offenders and now ensuring the public knows they have a say in punishing offenders.”

Dewsbury MP and Justice Minister Shahid Malik said: “Ministers have long acknowledged that there is a gap between the public’s perception of crime and justice and the reality.

“Crime has fallen by a third in the last decade but confidence in the criminal justice system lags behind the statistics. That’s exactly why we are doing this work – giving people more information and more say .

“We are determined to open up the justice system. If the public don’t have confidence in the criminal justice system they will not be prepared to play their part - for example by reporting crime. Justice must be done, but also seen to be done.”

Government crime and justice adviser Louise Casey said the website would “open up” the criminal justice system.

“I can’t get over the public’s insatiable desire to have their say about crime and criminals,” she said.

“This is about saying if you commit a crime in this country you face a nasty consequence.”

“You can now email the Probation Service and say what about doing this park or this cemetery?”

Votes can be cast at