Cambridgeshire’s Out of Court Diversion Suite and Brighter Tomorrows

The Out of Court Diversion Suite aims to divert individuals who commit low-level offences out of the court system by referring them to partner agencies that take a trauma-informed approach to address their offending behaviour. Brighter Tomorrows is a pilot programme that aims to tackle the complex needs of female offenders so that they are less likely to re-offend.

We spoke with Andrew Bartlett, Manager for Out of Court Diversion Suite/Custody Policy at Cambridgeshire Constabulary, about the Out of Court Diversion Suite and Brighter Tomorrows. 

About the Out-of-Court Diversion Suite

Cambridgeshire Constabulary and the OPCC operate an out-of-court diversion suite that is designed to take a trauma-informed approach to offender management. With all officers within the team having received specialist training, they work alongside frontline colleagues to develop pathways to tackle the criminogenic needs of people who offend. Offences include cannabis possession, shoplifting, domestic abuse, stalking, and robbery amongst others. The suite diverts approximately 350 clients a month with a compliance rate of 93% for Conditional Cautions and 73% of adults receiving a Community Resolution.

Eligibility

Suitable clients are diverted out of the criminal justice system via Community Resolution or a Conditional Caution. To receive a community resolution, an array of factors is taken into consideration such as the individual’s age, perceived risk, criminal history as well as the victim’s views on how the individual is dealt with.

Interventions

The sanctions balance the need for restitution for the victim with efforts to address the risk factors that caused the offending behaviour. The Constabulary has partnered with service providers in Health/Socio-Economic/Drugs/Alcohol who will support referred clients to address such issues. Such services include Peterborough’s Outside Links service, the Liaison and Diversion Service, and the substance misuse treatment service. As a result, a wide range of interventions that address housing, financial management, and drug and alcohol misuse can be implemented. Service users can either have their interventions delivered online or face to face or even a mixture of the two depending on their needs and the severity of their issue.   

Evidence-base

One example of how the project is informed by an evidence base is the diversion of domestically abusive individuals. The Constabulary has utilised research from across the world to design and implement tools that help them understand the different domestic abuse typologies so that they can safely divert perpetrators of domestic abuse into treatment programmes. A recent analysis of domestic abuse data has shown that of 283 offenders diverted onto such interventions, only 9.3% were subsequently named in another investigation over 24 months. 

About Brighter Tomorrows 

The programme has been running as a pilot in Peterborough since May 2022 and as of June, 14 women have been referred to the programme. It works with female offenders who are over the age of 18.

What inspired this project?

In line with recommendations of the Corston Report, published in 2006, the constabulary wanted to develop a women’s programme that addressed re-offending. Female offenders have usually been subject to abuse and trauma which results in complex needs.

Funding and delivery

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Darryl Preston, has funded £30,000 for this pilot. The pilot is being run by Outside Links, a Peterborough-based rehabilitative service that provides continued support within the community to reduce the risk of re-offending. Outside Links is run by HMP Peterborough and will work closely with Cambridgeshire Constabulary and other agencies whilst undertaking this pilot.

Assessment of needs

The programme involves a thorough assessment of needs that include health, wealth, education, drug and alcohol abuse, anger management, domestic abuse support as well as exploring hidden victimisation through unreported exploitation or abuse. Service users are offered help and support including free vocational or educational courses alongside help with benefits and food bank referrals.

If you would like to learn more about the Out of Court Diversion Suite and the pilot programme, Brighter Tomorrows, contact Andrew Bartlett at Andrew.Bartlett@cambs.police.uk

 

This case study was compiled by Maysa Clam in 2022

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