An Out of Court Disposal (OoCD) is a way to let police deal with less serious, and often first time, offending.
These offences can often be more appropriately handled without going to court.
Therefore, police can only use an OoCDs in limited circumstances and can only use them when a suspect admits the offence.
OoCD methods can include the following:
- Restorative justice;
- Community resolutions;
- Conditional cautioning;
- Simple cautions;
- Cannabis warnings;
- Penalty Notices for Disorder;
- interventions for young people.
More information on OoCDs can be found in the Quick Guide to Out of Court Disposals.
Joint Cleveland and Durham Out of Court Disposal Scrutiny Panel
Cleveland Police and Durham Constabulary established the joint OoCD panel in 2013. It was one of the first in the country.
Members of the panel are not police officers. Staff from a range of partner agencies make up the panel. These include representatives of the following:
- Cleveland Police and Durham Constabulary
- Durham and Cleveland OPCC
- Magistrates courts
- Probation Service
- Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
- Victims’ services
- Restorative justice
- Youth Offending Teams (YOTs.)
Members review a selection of anonymous cases independently. The police have earlier resolved these cases with an OoCD.
The aim of the panel is to decide whether the method of disposal is appropriate, based on a review of the information available at the time of the OoCD.
The panel cannot re-open a case. It also has no referral or appeals capability. The panel assesses the process and identifies any learning to help police improve. The panel meets quarterly and identifies key themes to scrutinise.
Members aim to provide transparency and accountability as well as increase public understanding, confidence and trust in how both forces use OoCDs.
Police and Crime Commissioners for Cleveland and Durham provide information to the public about the work of the panel and publish updates on their websites.
Each anonymous case is assessed against the following scoring criteria:
- Consistent with police policies and the CPD Code for Crown Prosecutors
- Appropriate but with observations
- Inappropriate and inconsistent with policy
- Panel fails to reach a conclusion. More information is required
The findings from each case are reported back to the respective scrutiny groups.
Summary of Cases reviewed
If you have any questions about Out of Court Disposals, please contact Cleveland and Durham PCCs at the following emails: