Scheme Heralded a Success by Commissioner’s Scrutiny Panel
6 November 2018 Local News
A scheme designed to cut the number of minor crimes dealt with by court has been hailed a success by the Staffordshire Commissioner’s scrutiny panel.
The Ethics, Transparency & Audit Panel (ETAP) produced a review of the Out of Court Disposal (OoCD) scheme where police may decide to resolve low-level crime committed by adults or youths that would otherwise have gone through the court process.
The OoCD scheme was initially rolled out as a pilot scheme, but will continue to operate in its own right.
ETAP was launched by the Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime, Matthew Ellis, with the aim of being the most open, transparent and independent means of scrutinising the county’s police and fire services.
Its report found that OoCD reduced reoffending and was improving confidence in the police.
It is also minimising the need for custodial sentences and highlighting a different approach to dealing with offenders who suffer from mental health issues or with alcohol/substance misuse.
ETAP’s report found: ‘OoCD are a positive way of dealing with low level crime and provide local officers with the authority to deal with local issues as and when they occur.
‘The inclusion of the victim in the decision process helps build confidence in the police and improve victim satisfaction.
‘Since the inception of the pilot, the Justice Services Support Unit has achieved good recovery rates of fines and has strengthened offenders’ attendances at clinics designed to overcome their issues.
‘This goes a long way in helping to reduce reoffending. This is being achieved by deploying staff to follow up on fines and compliance on clinic attendance.’
ETAP did, however, also identify potential weaknesses in dealing with some types of anti-social behaviour.
David Davies, ETAP’s thematic report lead, said: ‘In conducting this review, the panel members were impressed by the way Staffordshire Police and the Justice Services Unit Support embraced this scheme.
‘Their findings will go a long way to improve public confidence in how crimes of a lower lever are resolved and help ensure preventative steps are taken to reduce such offences in the future.
‘An area we felt the pilot scheme failed to address was with some anti-social behaviour, for example a congregation of young people intimidating others, or abusive behaviour towards the police, neither of which constitute crime, but which we felt the pilot failed to address satisfactorily.’