Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon is to fund the study into how more of those harmed by crime or conflict can be given a voice in the sentencing process.

The service would be based on restorative justice, a system which brings together victims and offenders.

Mr Salmon said: “I want the people of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys to tell offenders about the impact of their actions, get answers and receive an apology.

“Restorative justice means fairer local justice.

“The victim regains control and takes a weight off their mind.

“The offender comes face to face with the agony they’ve caused and will forever hear the words of their victim in their head. They have a more personal reason to stay out of trouble.

“I want restorative justice to hold offenders to account and help them understand the effects of their misdemeanours, take responsibility and make amends.

“It will reduce reoffending, improve victim satisfaction and save money within the criminal justice system.”

Restorative justice dates back thousands of years. Its techniques are increasingly being used by UK police forces, local authorities, probation officers, prisons and others to address harm, build understanding and strengthen communities. Such approaches were introduced in Dyfed-Powys four years ago for young offender cases.

Mr Salmon, along with other PCCs, has now been given Ministry of Justice funding to develop local restorative justice for adults awaiting court sentence.

To help inform his thinking he is commissioning the research. This will evaluate restorative justice provision in Dyfed-Powys, look at the needs of victims and explore the possibility of neighbourhood panels to manage the system locally.

It will highlight existing examples of good practice from further afield, assessing how they would work in rural areas such as much of Dyfed-Powys.

It will advise how the Commissioner’s restorative justice service could be delivered and how it could incorporate partnership working and volunteers.

Mr Salmon said: “This research will pave the way for the establishment of a Dyfed-Powys restorative justice delivery body. This organisation will work with others to provide a local restorative justice framework.”

Mr Salmon’s restorative justice research and preparatory work will inform a commissioning framework to support his strategic 2013-18 Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Plan. This framework will have commissioning plans for local justice, including work with partners in the criminal justice system, victims’ services and reoffending.

Closing date for restorative justice research tender submissions is May 13. It is expected that the research will be delivered by mid-September.