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Out of Court Resolutions

Out of Court Resolutions are a range of options used to resolve crime, without going to court. These options were previously known as Out of Court Disposals.

Out of Court Resolutions (OOCR) can be used for low-level crime, and often first-time offending. With the exception of Chance to Change Deferred Prosecution, they can only be used when the offender admits the offence or accepts responsibility and are willing to proceed with our recommended resolution.

OOCR are designed to:

  • address the need and make good any loss or harm sustained by the victim or community
  • provide swift and meaningful justice for victims and engages them in the process
  • hold offenders accountable for their actions and could reduce re-offending

The suitability of the options will depend on the nature of the offence, the age of the offender and the circumstances of the situation.

OOCR options

Within the Avon and Somerset area, OOCR options are broken down by the age of the offender.

Adult (over the age of 18)

The conditions available to be used in connection with adult OOCRs fall into set categories:

  • Rehabilitation – for example, an educational course
  • Reparation – for example, financial payment to cover repairs, personal or written apology, restorative justice, or advice or warning given by an officer
  • Restrictive Conditions – for example, no victim contact, restricted access

The victim will be asked which OOCR option they think would be most appropriate. The final decision on an OOCR is made by Avon and Somerset Police.

OOCR options:

Conditional Caution

A Conditional Caution is a formal agreement where failure to adhere to the agreed conditions may result in a formal prosecution.

  • There must be sufficient evidence to prove the offence
  • It is given with one or more conditions attached
  • If the conditions are not completed, the case can be taken to and dealt with at court

Community Resolutions

A Community Resolution is an informal agreement between the victim and offender. The agreed conditions are not enforceable by the police.

  • The use is recorded within our local crime and intelligence system
  • It will not be part of an individual’s criminal record. However this information may be disclosed if an enhanced check is needed

Drug Education Programme (DEP)

The DEP is an informal OOCR for drug possession of a personal amount, read more information on DEP.

Chance to Change – Deferred Prosecution

Chance to Change gives the suspect an opportunity to complete specific conditions as an alternative to a formal prosecution without having to fully admit the offence.

This option is only available to adults aged 18-24.

It is not available for certain serious offences, or if the offender has more than three previous court convictions within the last 12 months.

Standard support and enhanced support is available. Enhanced support is for those from black heritage, racially or ethnically minority groups, care leavers, or with special educational needs and disabilities.

A support worker will produce a needs assessment and agree a plan of support, bespoke to the participant’s needs.

A plan could consist of:

  • emotion management
  • pro-social identity work  (helps young adults to see themselves in ways that encourage positive behaviours)
  • drug support
  • education
  • training
  • employment

Individuals can only be referred to the Chance to the Change scheme once.

The offender must agree to a contract which lasts a maximum of 16 weeks, to:

  • work with Chance to Change support worker
  • not to reoffend
  • restrictive conditions or compensation (if applicable)

If successfully completed, the original offence is recorded as No Further Action.

If the scheme is breached, the offender will be prosecuted for the original offence.

Interventions and programmes

Adult interventions are available to use alongside an OOCR, read more on adult interventions and programmes.

Child (aged 10-17)

If the offender is a child, the OOCR options are:

Youth Caution or Youth Conditional Caution

Both of these options are formal resolutions which can be used as an alternative to going to court.

Before these cautions can be given, the child must admit to the offence and there must be enough evidence to prove the offence.

Youth Conditional Cautions are intended to be a tougher response to offending than a Youth Caution. If the agreed conditions are broken, the offender can go to court for the original offence.

Officers will refer to the Youth OOCR panel for joint working with the Youth Justice Services.

Community Resolutions

Officers can issue first time Community Resolutions (except for knife offences or sexual offences). In all other circumstances, the officer will refer to the Youth OOCR panel for joint working with the Youth Justice Services.

The Youth Justice Service will:

  • establish information from partners including schools, social care about the welfare of the child, and, or previous outcomes and engagement
  • seek the views of the victim
  • formulate an intervention bespoke to the needs of the child to help them desist from further offending

All this information is then used to reach a joint decision on the resolution.

Deferred Caution

A Deferred Caution is available via the Youth OOCR panel. The decision to give a formal caution is put on hold whilst the young person agrees to diversionary conditions.

Youth Alcohol Drug Diversion (YADD) offers an alternative route for young offenders who commit drug possession offences or for drunk and disorderly offences.

If the child fails to comply, they will be cautioned for the original offence.

Successful completion results in no further action.

Voluntary diversionary activity

A voluntary diversionary activity could consist of:

  • Restorative justice – a process that empowers victims by giving them the opportunity to communicate with the person(s) responsible for the offence
  • the Turnaround Programme – an early intervention programme, supporting children at risk of entering the youth justice system, delivered by the Youth Justice Service

Adult interventions and programmes

Below are the interventions currently offered within the force for adults (over the age of 18).

An intervention may be used alongside a Community Resolution or Conditional Caution, depending on the seriousness of the offence.

A.C.T (Always Choose to Tell) by RISE

Service: perpetrator pays model

Offence category: breach of sex offender notification

Consider course by RISE

Service: perpetrator pays model

Offence category:

  • indecent exposure
  • unwanted touching or groping
  • inappropriate sexual conversations behaviour, including via electronic communications
  • fixated obsessive behaviour
Drug awareness and alcohol awareness course by Drug Link

The drug awareness and alcohol awareness courses are separate to the Drug Education Programme

Service: perpetrator pays model

Offence category: alcohol related offending and drug related offending

Drugs Education Programme (DEP)

Service: delivered by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and Somerset Partnership Foundation Trust as part of the Advice, Support, Custody, Court (ASCC) service, commissioned by OPCC and NHS England

Offence category: an opportunity if found in possession of drugs for personal use, not supply. The offender’s history irrelevant but engagement and admission of responsibility is required. They are only able to attend the programme once

Keep it Calm by RISE

Service: perpetrator pays model

Offence category: violence and aggression

Perspective course by RISE

Service: commissioned by Avon and Somerset Police

Offence category: hate crime

Project CARA (Cautioning and Relationship Abuse) by the Hampton Trust

Service: commissioned by Avon and Somerset Police

Offence category: domestic abuse – intimate partner (male only)

Restorative justice by Resolve West

Service: Restorative Approaches Avon and Somerset, commissioned by Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Avon and Somerset Police.

Offence category: restorative justice is a process where a victim can meet the person who was responsible for the offence. It is an option available across the whole criminal justice system, on a case by case basis

SHE (Support, Help, Engagement) by the Nelson Trust

Service: commissioned by Avon and Somerset Police

Offence category: arrest intervention for females who are in need of support and diversion. Age 18+.

  • Voluntary only for all offences except female perpetrators of intimate partner domestic abuse, who will have this as a caution to comply with
  • This intervention is only available for offenders who live within the Avon and Somerset Police force area.
Victim Awareness Course by Victim Support

Service: perpetrator pays model

Offence category:

  • theft
  • criminal damage
  • section 4 and 5 public order
  • assault
  • harassment

Victim Support review on a case by case, so there is flexibility

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