Police chief says prison sentence for football thug Paul Mitchell after punching Jack Grealish ‘won’t do him any good’

The fan who attacked Aston Villa's Jack Grealish is escorted off the pitch during the Sky Bet Championship match at St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium, Birmingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 10, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Birmingham. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
The fan who attacked Aston Villa's Jack Grealish is escorted off the pitch during the Sky Bet Championship match at St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium, Birmingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 10, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Birmingham. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

A police chief has waded into the row over the football yob who punched Jack Grealish during last week’s Birmingham derby.

Birmingham City supporter Paul Mitchell was jailed on Monday (March 11) for attacking the Aston Villa midfielder.

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish celebrates scoring his sides first goal of the game during the Sky Bet Championship match at St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium, Birmingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 10, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Birmingham. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish celebrates scoring his sides first goal of the game during the Sky Bet Championship match at St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium, Birmingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 10, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Birmingham. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

But speaking at yesterday’s (Thursday, March 14) Durham and Darlington Police and Crime Panel, Ron Hogg, the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC) for Durham, said prison will not do Mitchell “any good”.

“Take the guy who punched the footballer [Jack Grealish] and got a 14-week sentence,” he told the meeting at Darlington Town Hall.

“That won’t do him any good – he would be better off sweeping the terraces at the stadium.”

Mr Hogg is an advocate of ‘restorative justice’, in which victims of crime and offenders are encouraged to interact with each other.

He is also opposed to short sentences, which he claims do not allow prison or probation services enough time to address the issues which caused people to commit crimes in the first place.

“It’s about the benefit [you get from it],” he said.

“There’s a lot of evidence that short sentences are counter productive, particularly with pressures on prison staff proactive work [with prisoners] has diminished.”

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service