Beds Police updates measures to keep low-risk criminals out of the court system

Police on the beat

Bedfordshire Police has updated a process for dealing with low to medium risk criminals outside the court system with the hope of steering them away from a life of crime.

The aim is also to increase victim satisfaction by giving those affected by lower-level crimes quicker access to justice, and allowing them to have a say in their own case outcomes through ‘Out of Court Disposals’.

These allow police to deal proportionately with certain types of crimes – but are not suitable for more serious cases or those where the offender does not admit their responsibility.

They would also not be normally considered for those offenders who repeatedly commit crimes.

An update on new processes that started in September for Out of Court Disposals was given by Sharn Basra, assistant chief constable for Bedfordshire Police at the recent Delivery and Beating Crime meeting (30 September 2021).

“We went live with a new process this month, so there has been lots of education for our workforce”, he said.

“Covering the different elements such as community resolutions, some of the support networks and mechanisms out there and making sure that we listen and take into account the victim’s voice.”

Festus Akinbusoye, Bedfordshire’s police and crime commissioner, asked, “What’s the real objective here?

“Are we looking to make this a mainstay of how we deal with low to medium risk offenders?”

The assistant chief constable responded, “Without doubt, if we can avoid putting people through the criminal justice process, the better in terms of a longer-term investment.

“What we know is that we do have a number of cases where people come into the system and they are subject to no further action.

“A huge bit of work is being led by DCS Perkins is around women within the criminal justice system and how they may be disproportionately dealt with.

“So the idea, as I said, is to keep people out of the criminal justice system.”

Bedfordshire’s deputy chief constable, Trevor Rodenhurst, added, “A lot of these individuals may have an issue in their life that they may need some help with.

“So it’s not just about coming in contact with the police service, they are also coming into contact with other services.

“And to take individuals who, through some sort of help, won’t come back into a number of services again, that’s got to be the way forward.”

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter

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