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Crime resolution tracker

Compare how effective your police force is at resolving crime without going to court.

Does your police force make the best use of the lower gears of the justice system?

The criminal justice system is like a manual car: different gears are needed for different situations. Overusing the high gears (court and imprisonment) means the car won’t work as effectively, efficiently or economically.

Some crimes are best resolved without going to court, using the first and second gears of the justice system. Cautions, community resolutions, deferred prosecution or full diversion from the justice system are all effective options in preventing reoffending and addressing the needs of victims.

Some police forces are making better use of these options than others. Use the interactive tool below to see how often different police forces across England and Wales use out of court resolutions, compared to how often they charge people and send them to court.

How can police resolve crime without going to court?
Diversion from the criminal justice system

For many low-level and first-time crimes, it’s being caught by the police that makes the difference, regardless of the sanction applied. The best approach may be to refer someone to services and take no further action. May be referred to as ‘outcome 22’.

Community resolution

Used for crimes which are more effectively dealt with swiftly and informally, often “on the street”. The person who committed the crime agrees to make amends in some way – whether by apologising or clearing up any damage done.

Simple caution

Given to people who admit to committing relatively low-level offences where prosecution would not be effective or proportionate. A formal criminal justice sanction that includes a criminal record. Currently being phased out in favour of cautions with conditions.

Conditional caution

Like a simple caution, plus all those on whom they are imposed have to meet conditions such as taking part in a rehabilitation activity or paying compensation for damage.

Penalty notice for disorder

A quick way of dealing with low level, antisocial and nuisance offending by issuing a fine. Currently being phased out and use has dropped significantly in recent years.

Deferred prosecution

An approach available in a small number of police forces, where prosecution is deferred if the accused agrees to undergo a rehabilitation programme. If they do not complete the programme, they may be prosecuted. Does not require a formal admission of guilt.

How are crimes resolved in your area?

View as a PDF
  • Out of court resolution
  • Diversionary, educational or intervention activity (outcome 22)
  • Charged/summonsed
View as a PDF
  • Out of court resolution
  • Diversionary, educational or intervention activity (outcome 22)
  • Charged/summonsed
This interactive tool is based on Home Office published data on police recorded crime and outcomes. The ranking focuses on ‘positive outcomes’ only - charge, out of court resolutions, deferred prosecution and diversion to services (outcome 22) - and excludes cases where no further action is taken, for example because of lack of evidence or because further action is not in the public interest. The data on adults and children was obtained by Freedom of Information requests sent to all forces and is for 2023 only.

Out of court resolutions by police force

Want to increase your effective use of out of court resolutions?

  •  A Transform Justice survey of over 700 police officers and staff found
    three main barriers to their greater use:
  • low awareness of how to resolve crime without going to court amongst
    officers and staff.
  • restrictive eligibility criteria (or at least, criteria that are perceived to
    be restrictive).
  • in the case of conditional cautions, the process was considered too
    complicated and bureaucratic.

Read what high-performing police forces are doing to overcome these barriers and make better use of the first and second gears of the justice
system.

What do the public think about resolving crime without going to court?

The public are overall supportive of policies to resolve more crimes without going to court. Most people agree that they tend to be a good use of police resources, a sensible response to crime and that they can help those who commit crime make positive change. Effective framing and clear language can boost public support for effective diversion policies further. Read more in our messaging guide.