Allison King, Criminal Justice Sergeant Gatekeeper at Northumbria Police, told us about the establishment of their TREAD team and the outcomes it seeks to achieve.
Launched in September 2021, the Northumbria Police TREAD team has allowed for a monopoly on decision making by the team around outcomes for traditional out of court disposals (OOCD). These OOCDs for adults, are considered via a referral process and completed by an officer, then subsequently authorised by a supervisor. This centralisation has also allowed for other lower level offending cases to be considered where adults could be potentially diverted away from court (diversion from charge cases) under the use of Outcome 22 and by providing support around socio-economic needs to reduce reoffending risk.
The introduction of the team was made to bring about several benefits including; consistency of decision making, increased use of conditional cautions, more meaningful public health approach to adult diversion, better recording of rationales for OOCD. Further to this the TREAD team seeks additional benefits in a variety of areas such as:
- Minimise labelling to prevent young adults from forming negative, errant identities that may interfere with their development or affect societal inclusion.
- Provide meaningful adult outcomes which look to offer interventions to tackle future offending.
- Avoid unnecessary disproportionality in the criminal justice system.
- Improved outcomes in communities and neighbourhoods in which vulnerable people are exposed to harm.
- Improved satisfaction for victims through restorative justice.
- Meaningful public health approach to adult diversion - leading to better social economic benefits and demand reduction.
- Each diverted case reduces cost in time and staffing which would otherwise be spent in preparing files for court with an end result which often provides little or no support to the offender to reduce their risk of offending by tackling the root cause of their offending. This means an increased availability of officers to tackle serious crime and improved visibility to the public.
- Improved crime and National Crime Recording Standards compliance through centralised updating and recording.
- Improved compliance with the Victim Code of Practice and victim satisfaction through single team updates and specialised understanding of process.
- This team now tackles the problems around awareness among officers incorrect referring.
Prior to referral to the TREAD team, frontline supervisors at Northumbria Police apply an eligibility test to each case they assess as potentially suitable for resolution via an OOCD or diversion from charge. This eligibility criteria includes:
- Eligibility for traditional OOCD, such as a simple or conditional caution or community resolution.
- No breach of trust must be involved, for example, theft by employee.
- The subject must reside in the Northumbria Force area to be eligible for consideration for diversion from charge or a conditional caution with the exception of those considered suitable for the Victim Awareness Programme which is offered virtually.
- Gravity score of the offence must be no greater than three or mitigation must be provided.
- Subject must be willing to comply with conditions.
- Offence must be low level and a Police charge level case.
- Consideration of public interest.
- Is diversion appropriate in the circumstances?
- Offence must be fully admitted or in the case of provision of a ‘no reply’ interview the subject must otherwise have been eligible for traditional OOCD.
- Sufficient evidence available to support a charge.
Diversion and conditional cautions are delivered via a number of pathways delivered by local service providers. Each was introduced to tackle the cause of crime and many were devised in conjunction with the Northumbria Police Violence Reduction Unit.
Please click here to read more about Northumbria Police's out of court disposal pathways.
This case-study was compiled by Jason Watt in 2021