Suffolk police second highest in country for 'Community Resolution' use
Suffolk police dealt with more than 10,000 crimes informally over the past four years - the second highest percentage of any force in the country, new data has revealed.
From 2014 to 2018, Suffolk Constabulary resolved more than 10,182 crimes with a Community Resolution (CR) - which allow officers to deal with lower-level crime proportionally.
What is a Community Resolution?
Community Resolutions are an out of court disposal designed to tackle less serious offending and anti-social behaviour.
They are not convictions, do not appear on criminal records and will not be disclosed in a standard DBS check.
In 2015, use started to decline after the House of Commons' Home Affairs Committee published a report suggesting around 30% of out of court disposals previously recorded may have been inappropriately issued.
Suffolk police statistics
According to a BBC investigation, as a percentage of recorded crime outcomes, Durham issued the most CRs at 8% overall, followed by Suffolk at 6%.
CRs were issued for 2,500 sex offences nationally, and as a percentage of outcomes, Suffolk Constabulary (3%) and Cheshire police issued the highest.
From 2014 to 2018, as a percentage of outcomes, 10% of public order offences were dealt with by CRs, with violent crime at 8% and possession of weapons at 7%.
What did Suffolk police say?
A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said: "Community Resolution (CR) is a valuable tool which allows police to deal proportionally with some lower risk crime and antisocial behaviour. CRs are generally used for first time offenders who express genuine remorse and where the victim has agreed that they do not want the police to take more formal action.
"It allows for the use of Restorative Justice techniques, where appropriate, to bring victims and offenders together and can reduce the likelihood of reoffending by encouraging offenders to face up to the impact of their behaviour, and to take responsibility for making good the harm they have caused.
"Suffolk Constabulary has recently launched a new community resolution app that assists officers in making decisions regarding the use of Community Resolutions, ensuring that the criteria is applied consistently across the county, improving outcomes for both offenders and victims.
"Samples of CR cases are regularly reviewed by a court scrutiny panel who examine the rationale applied."
What did the Police Federation say?
Simon Kempton, operational lead for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "The decisions have to be led by what is best for the victims.
"Occasionally, community resolutions could be an alternative to no further action, for example, conviction might rest on the ability of a victim to attend court and if they do not attend court, police and CPS could fail to secure that conviction in the worst case scenario.
"In this case, a community resolution might be appropriate, for example.
"Community resolutions should not be seen as an easy get out and in use should be appropriate to the circumstances- its use needs to be monitored whilst being victim focussed.
"The guidelines state there needs to be; a) a lower level crime, b) agreement of the victim and c) admission by the offender.
"There will always be exceptional circumstances which merit a community resolution being issued, but the victim focus should never be lost."