This diversion scheme was set up to tackle the root causes of offending by offering deferred prosecution and a conditional caution as well as help with issues such as housing, mental health and substance misuse.

Cristina Strood, Head of Policy for Police & Fire at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, told us about how they wanted to stop the ‘revolving door’ cycle of offending.

Launched in 2016, the offender hub project began in Peterborough and has now been rolled out across Cambridgeshire following its success. Recognised for its good work and innovative approach, the scheme initially received funding the UK Home Office’s Innovation Fund.

Tackling root causes of offending

The aim is primarily to prevent reoffending and tackle the root causes of offending. When appropriate individuals involved in low-level crimes are identified as eligible, their prosecution is deferred and a conditional caution will be put in place. The conditional caution given is determined through an assessment with the individual to see what requirements best fit them. The focus is on finding the best possible outcome that provides the most appropriate response to the offence. Compliance is monitored and if conditions are not met, the previously deferred prosecution will continue.

The support available also aims to try and improve lives and reduce reoffending by tackling the underlying causes of criminality. This can include support in a number of areas such as housing, anger management, mental health support or support with drugs and alcohol. She also said that the interventions are intended to be rehabilitative and reparative, punitive where necessary and to incorporate the element of restorative justice (RJ).

It is a multi-agency initiative with the Constabulary, the Outside Links service at HMP Peterborough and OPCC all involved in its establishment and delivery. At the time of writing, over 600 people had received conditional cautions between September 2016 and February 2018, with high levels of compliance (84%).

This scheme has now evolved into the Out of Court Diversion Suite. To learn more, click here.


This case-study was compiled and edited by Jaskirat Mann in 2018

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