Proven Reoffending Rates from the Ministry of Justice continues to demonstrate that Cleveland has a higher reoffending rate than the national average with the Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Stockton Local Authority areas having some of the highest rates across England and Wales. Reducing reoffending remains a key priority of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), as detailed in the Police and Crime Plan 2021/ 2022.
Cleveland Divert is an adult deferred prosecution scheme that is delivered in partnership between the Office of PCC, Durham Tees Valley Community Rehabilitation Company and Cleveland Police. The programme aims to divert first-time, and low-level offenders away from the criminal justice system and provides support to address the underlying issues, or ‘pathways’, such as substance misuse and/ or mental health, that contributed towards the offence. By providing an earlier intervention and addressing the causes of a person’s offending behaviour, reduces the likelihood of these issues escalating further and leading to more offending.
Since December 2018 (to date) there has been over 600 referrals accepted on the programme, with engagement rates exceeding 85% between April and September 2020. In June 2020, the Office of PCC reviewed the reoffending data for Divert participants that successfully completed the programme, to those that commenced their Divert intervention and failed to engage with the service and were subsequently closed. The reoffending rates for participants that completed Divert was 195% lower than those that failed to engage. Analysis of entry and exit assessments saw a drop in average scores across all pathway areas. Female participants reduced their pathway need scores between an average of 30%, and male participant’s pathway needs declined by a total average of 43%, with significant declines in mental health, drugs, alcohol and thinking, behaviour and attitudes pathway areas.
For participants who fail to engage with Divert their case is returned to Cleveland Police for a criminal justice response. The views and wishes of victims are included as part of the referral process and Cleveland Police will liaise with the victim and provide updates throughout the case in accordance with the Victims Code of Practice (VCOP). For all cases, victim focused work and restorative justice is considered for all cases.
In an inspection of the Durham Tees Valley Community Rehabilitation Company, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation hailed the Divert scheme as an innovative way of tackling crime, addiction and preventing re-offending and the programme was shortlisted for a Howard League Community Award in recognition of the work that it does with female participants.
In recognition of the impact and value of the service at reducing reoffending and the impact it has on victims, the Police and Crime Commissioner is providing £240,000 to ensure the continuation of the programme for an additional twelve-month period, between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022.