1. Summary of Changes

1.1. The following amendments have been made to this Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in November 2020:

  • Paragraph 3.9.2 updated.

2. What this Procedure is About

2.1 This Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) gives operational direction in relation to the circumstances in which community resolutions will be used, how they will be delivered and how to record them.


2.2. Community resolutions provide effective and transparent means for dealing with lower level crime and anti-social incidents, offering an alternative to formal criminal justice proceedings but not to divert if it is appropriate to prosecute. Community resolutions incorporating the use of Community Remedy support the professional judgement of police officers to assess an offence, the wishes of the victim, and the offender's history in order to reach an outcome which best meets the interests of the victim and of the public. The Community Remedy has been introduced by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. The act places a duty on The Police and Crime Commissioner to consult with members of the public and community representatives on what punitive, reparative or rehabilitative actions they would consider appropriate to be on the Community Remedy document. The Community Remedy document is a list of actions which the victim may choose from, for the offender to undertake as a consequence of their behaviour or offending. A Community Resolution may be used with both youth and adult offenders.

2.3. Restorative practice is a process that brings known benefits including victim satisfaction, reduction in re-offending and community cohesion. A Community Resolution may be delivered either with or without the use of restorative process techniques, where appropriate. This increases victim inclusivity in the outcome of the offence, and also assists the offender to understand the impact that the offence has on other individuals. Restorative Justice should not be confused with a Community Resolution as Restorative Justice is not an out of court disposal; the two are distinct and separate. Restorative justice can be used in addition to whatever sentence the offender may have received either at court or by way of an out-of-court disposal. Every effort should be made to allow the Community Resolution to be delivered in a face-to-face restorative manner. Officers will consider who has been affected by the incident or crime in addition to the named victim.

Every effort should be made to allow the Community Resolution to be delivered in a face-to-face restorative manner. Officers will consider who has been affected by the incident or crime in addition to the named victim.

2.4 Community Resolution should also be considered to be used in conjunction with Cautions and Court outcomes. Options for Community remedy are detailed at point 3.9.6.

Compliance with this SOP and any governing policy is mandatory.

3. Detail the Procedure

3.1. Any resolution may be delivered there and then or scheduled for a later time. If the Community Resolution is being used with Restorative Justice (face to face or indirect communication) and cannot be dealt with instantly, or it requires more preparation/risk assessment, this will need to be referred to the Restorative Justice Officer by emailing restorative.policing.hq@kent.pnn.police.uk. The decision as to the most appropriate method of delivery will be for the investigating officer and made with consideration to the facts of the incident and the needs.
3.2. Offence

3.2.1. Community resolutions will not be used for:

  • Sexual offences;
  • Adolescent Parent Violence and Abuse (APVA)  **APVA and DV CAN have a CR issued but MUST have authority from YJT Supervisor** ;
  • Offenders that are subject to an existing court order, on bail for other offences or are wanted on warrant;
  • Diverting suitable cases from court.

3.3. Evidential standard

3.3.1. The investigation must meet with current investigative standards and the offence is one that would be suitable for a caution but not prosecution.

3.3.2. Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) seeking to deal with a crime using a community resolution may do so where they have the power for the offence designated by the Chief Constable. Where such power has not been designated the crime must have been investigated by a warranted police officer. This investigation may have been conducted by an officer of any rank and may include independent patrol Special Constable. Once the investigation has been completed PCSO’s that are trained to Restorative Justice Level 1 are authorised to deliver the community resolution.

3.4. Admission

3.4.1. The offender’s admission must be recorded and no lawful defences raised before the administration of a community resolution can be considered. Every attempt should be made to ensure this is compliant with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE).

3.4.2. Where it is unlikely that the case will come to a formal sanction, it may be suitable for the obtaining of the admission outside the auspices of PACE, e.g. a juvenile shoplifter with no previous sanctions against them who is fully admitting the offence without an appropriate adult present, who is to be taken home following the resolution.

3.5. Offender

3.5.1. The officer must obtain the consent of the offender to engage in the community resolution process.
3.5.2. This approach may be used for an offender of any age, except those below the age of criminal responsibility. In the case of those under the age of 18 years engaging in a community resolution, officers will take and document all reasonable steps to contact parents/guardians prior to the resolution being delivered.
3.5.3. In cases where this is not appropriate, a parent/guardian will be informed of the resolution at the earliest opportunity and, in any case, within 24 hours and this contact will be documented by the officer or staff member making contact. In cases where the appropriate adult is also the victim every effort must be made to include another suitable person to fulfil the function of appropriate adult. Where this is not possible the community resolution may continue but officers should consider the welfare and interests of the young person involved.

3.6. Offending history

3.6.1. Where the offender is a juvenile (under 18) and has received a previous sanction and a community resolution is considered appropriate, authorisation must be gained from a Youth Justice Team Supervisor.

 

3.7. Implications

3.7.1. The officer should ensure the offender understands that the community resolution may be disclosed as part of an enhanced Disclosure and Baring Service (DBS) check. Any disclosure at enhanced level would depend on the nature and circumstances of the individual check. Ordinarily a low level offence such as a minor theft (e.g. shoplifting) would not be disclosed on an enhanced DBS check. Officers should not however provide any assurances of this.

3.8. Authorisation

3.8.1. Authorisation to deliver a community resolution is not normally required. The following criteria will need to be present for the community resolution to be administered without authorisation:

  • The administering officer is trained to level 1 restorative practice;
  • The offender has not received any previous sanctions;
  • The offence is one that ordinarily would be suitable for a caution;
  • There is an identifiable victim who considers this as an appropriate method of resolution;
  • The circumstances and severity of the offence are not such that it should result in a court prosecution;
  • The offender accepts responsibility for their action;
  • The offender understands the effect their behaviour has had on others;
  • The victim(s) has an opportunity to express their views to the offender;
  • The victim(s) will have their questions about the offence answered.

3.8.2. If any one or more of the criteria as above are not able to be met. Where the offender is an adult prior written authorisation from the officers supervisor is required. Where the offender is a juvenile (U/18) authority must be sought from the Youth Justice Team Supervisor. This authorisation will be recorded, along with the rationale for the decision, on the crime report or CAD log by the authorising supervisor using their login to provide an audit trail for the decision.

3.8.3. In cases where the offence is against the state, e.g. Public Order, officers should consider who may have been affected by the offence, i.e. a parent or local resident to fulfil the role of the harmed person in a restorative process. These cases will always require a require a Supervisor's authority and the case of juveniles a Youth Justice Team Supervisor. Where the direct victim is not in agreement with the resolution, the officer will record this and explain the reasons given to the Youth Justice Team Supervisor.

3.8.4 If outcome steps outside of policy, authorisation to be given by the officer’s supervisor and in the event of offender being a juvenile the Youth Justice Supervisor.

3.9. Procedure

3.9.1. The force adopts a restorative approach to the delivery of community resolutions; this approach should be utilised wherever possible in order to achieve the best possible outcome for the victim.

3.9.2. The victim must be consulted and consent sought. In certain cases it may be appropriate to consider a CR without victim consent, or in the absence of an identifiable victim (such as drugs or public order offences), in circumstances when the victim consent is not secured the officer must seek agreement from a supervisor and a full rationale for the decision must be recorded.

3.9.3. When a community resolution is to be used, the officer must make reasonable efforts to obtain the views of the victim as to whether the offender should carry out any of the actions listed in the community remedy document (located on the Mobile First Community Resolution form). If the officer considers that the action chosen by the victim is appropriate, the offender should be asked to carry out that action (the officer should ask the offender if the action is within their capability to fulfil). The police officer will have the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the action offered to the offender is appropriate and proportionate to the offence.

3.9.4. The officer must clearly explain to the victim that any agreed outcomes are voluntary and that the police are not able to enforce non-compliance with the offender, if the offender does not comply there is no recourse. Every effort should be made to allow the resolution to be delivered in a face-to-face restorative manner. However it is not necessary for the victim to meet the offender in order to choose the action in the community remedy document. The officer must also clearly explain to the offender that they will be named on the crime report.

3.9.5. When using the community remedy the officer should consider the most appropriate way to involve the victim. It is the responsibility of the officer to maintain contact with the victim, offender and other parties including witnesses and appropriate adults throughout the duration of the process. Contact will be made by the officer to the victim, immediately after the delivery of the resolution. The officer will also make contact with the victim on conclusion of any outcomes agreed by the process. If the victim is not contactable or if it cannot be ascertained who the victim is then the officer will choose an appropriate action for the offender to undertake.

3.9.6. Community Remedy Actions:

  • Financial Compensation (payment of cost of damage or replacement of property)
  • Reparation (repair of damage to victim’s property or work in the community)
  • Parenting Contract (voluntary agreement signed by the offenders parent/carer/guardian outlining expected behaviour
  • Acceptable Behaviour Contract (written agreement specifying behaviour)
  • Verbal Apology to the victim - Instant only.
  • Written Apology to the victim - Instant only.
  • Informal restorative intervention (facilitated process between the victim and offender to discuss the harm caused) - Instant only.

If the Restorative Process could not be dealt with instantly or requires more preparation/risk assessment, this is considered 'Level 2'. The following outcomes must be referred to the Restorative Justice Officer by emailing restorative.policing.hq@kent.pnn.police.uk

  • Indirect Restorative Processes (written or 'shuttle' communication.
  • Restorative Meeting where the incident could not be dealt with instantly (face to face conference between the victim and offender to discuss the harm caused.

3.10. Recording

3.10.1. Where a reported offence is fully investigated and resolved using a community resolution the officer in the case will input the information into the Mobile application. This will be offered to all parties for signature. On completion this will be quality assured by the officer’s line manager and signed accordingly. The offender may request a copy of this. The victim may request the outcome details in writing from the officer in the case if they wish.

3.10.2. Where a community resolution is achieved with a crime report already in existence, a community resolution record (form 1912) will be completed as above. The form should then be scanned and attached to the crime report by the officer. Additionally, the crime enquiries will be fully updated and a crime submission completed and authorised by the line manager.

3.10.3. A restorative process will only be considered to have been used when the checklist on the 1912 form, submitted by the officer, confirms that all of the following criteria have been met:

  • The offender accepted responsibility for their actions;
  • The offender understood the effect the behaviour has had on others;
  • The victim(s) had an opportunity to share their views with the offender;
  • The victim(s) have had their questions about the offence answered.

3.10.4. All community resolutions will be subject of a quality assurance check by the duty IMU Investigative Standards Team. Failure to demonstrate compliance will result in rejection and return to the OIC for reparative action.

3.11. Outcomes

3.11.1. Outcomes should be focused on the offender making good the harm that has been caused in accordance with the wishes of the victim and others affected by the offending behaviour. When considering outcomes, the officer must consider the safety of those involved and their duty of care.

3.11.2. Often the only outcome that is required is a sincere apology. Where this is the case and it is forthcoming during the community resolution process, this will be acknowledged and recorded on the 1912 along with the recipient’s response. Any action selected as a result of using the community remedy document should also be recorded on the 1912.

3.11.3. It is important that actions are monitored and those involved are kept informed even when the agreement has not been adhered to. The responsibility for this will remain with the OIC.

3.11.4. If the Community Resolution is used with Restorative Justice and this cannot be dealt with instantly, or this requires more preparation/risk assessment , this needs to be referred to the Restorative Justice Officer (email restorative.policing.hq@kent.pnn.police.uk) via the Mobile First app.

3.12. Non-compliance

3.12.1. When an offender fails to complete their agreed actions it will not be possible to then offer an alternative sanction such as a youth caution or caution – victims must be made aware of this before agreeing to this resolution.

3.12.2. The officer will consider the possibility of reconvening a restorative meeting and addressing the harm caused by non-compliance and allowing those involved to consider the consequences and the implications for the future. If a restorative meeting needs to be postponed, this needs to be referred to the Restorative Justice Officer by emailing restorative.policing.hq@kent.pnn.police.uk

4. Equality Impact Assessment

4.1. An Equality Impact Assessment has been carried out and shows the proposals in this policy would have no potential or actual differential impact on grounds of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, transgender, disability, age, religion or belief or sexual orientation.

5. Risk Assessment

5.1. This SOP has been assessed as medium risk.

6. Consultation

    • Investigation Management Unit
    • Local Divisional Policing 
    • Human Resources
    • Finance
    • Health and Safety
    • Legal
    • Freedom of Information
    • IT Security
    • Estates
    • Equality and Diversity Co-ordinator

7. Monitoring and Review

7.1. Monitoring and review of SOP will be completed by the Victim Justice Department.  Regular reviews will be completed and as required in response to changes to legislation and/or national guidance.

7.2. This SOP will be reviewed every two years with the next review scheduled for September 2021. 

8. Other Source Documents

8.1. If you require any further information or to request any documentation referenced within the policy please contact policy.unit@kent.police.uk.

9. Security

9.1. Kent Police have measures in place to protect the security of your data in accordance with our Information Management Policy.

10. Retention and Disposal of Records

10.1 Kent Police will hold data in accordance with our Records Review, Retention and Disposal Policy