Chris Cully, the Managing Director of risk & security management company, Dilitas writes exclusively for Infologue.com about “Community Resolutions”.
Chris writes: “Since the end of April, reports have been appearing that in the last year some 10,000 serious/violent crimes were dealt with informally, by means of “Community Resolutions”.
“What is a “Community Resolution”? Simply put, it’s a means of dealing with and ending a criminal investigation by means of an apology or compensation to the victim.
“Apparently, according to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), community resolution should only be used for low-level crime. In case you are unsure who ACPO are, they are the fine body of men and women who, apparently, bring together the expertise and experience of chief police officers from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, providing a professional forum to share ideas and best practice, co-ordinate resources and help deliver effective policing which keeps the public safe.
“I know, I know; we were all falling about when we read this definition, which ACPO kindly provide at www.acpo.police.uk.
“Anyway, back to Community Resolution. Apparently, a request was made by the Labour Party, under the Freedom of Information Act and 33 police forces from England & Wales responded with the requested data. The data was analysed by the House of Commons library.
“It is not clear why the Labour Party requested this information. It is thought that the Labour Party were keen to see the effects of the swaging damage and manipulation of crime figures they generated whilst in power, although this is a calculated assumption and by no means confirmed.
“The Community Resolution or as we all refer to it, the “Guardian Readers Group Hug”, does not lead to a criminal conviction, unlike its more spiteful cousin, the “Caution”, which does. As I am sure you are now realising, there’s something particularly pongy in the state of Denmark.
“Apparently, the Community Resolution can involve “Restorative Justice Techniques”, such as the offender apologising to the victim, paying compensation or repairing any damage caused. Yeah right! The question is immediately raised, who is going to enforce this and how; especially as a Community Resolution is not a conviction. The answer is nobody.
“ACPO, remember them? They are the aforementioned indecision of very senior police officers who provide a professional forum to share ideas and best practice, co-ordinate resources and help deliver effective policing which keeps the public safe. Well, ACPO advised in guidelines, that community resolutions should be used for “less serious” offences which may include “minor assaults without injury”.
“A minor assault without injury falls within the definition of “Common Assault, S. 42.Offences Against Person Act 1861. This means a slap or a push or throwing water or beer over somebody or similaractions which result in little or no damage or hurt to an individual.
“When England & Wales had a police force, such offences were dealt with by means of words of advice and exchanging names and address between the two parties and, a suitable warning that if Plod had to return, then everybody was going down the nick to be charged with a variety of offences.
“Peace being immediately and freely restored, Plod remained patrolling on the pavementwith no cost to the public purse and, without the costly and cumbersome process of Justice rolling forward over a nothing incident.
“However, under labour, S. 42, became the offence of choice for which everybody was getting arrested and then convinced to plead guilty at court, as it was “not an important matter”. Unfortunately, to those who chose to plead guilty, they received a criminal offence for a matter that should have never resulted in arrest nor appeared before the courts.
“So where does that leave Community Resolution?Well, last year, this was applied in 10,160 incidents of “serious violence” – about 12 times the figure for five years ago, the figures obtained by Labour show. They were also used in 2,488 domestic violence cases in 2012.
“In total, community resolutions were used 33,673 times for violence against the person offences last year.
“The number of community resolutions being issued in cases of violent crime has risen from 7,621 in 2010 to 8,523 in 2011. However, the figures show the largest increase was from 792 in 2008 to 5,173 in 2009.
“Incidents classed as serious violence by the House of Commons library, in its analysis include:
- Grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent
- GBH without intent
- Assault occasioning actual bodily harm
- Malicious wounding
- Wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm
- Use of substance or object to endanger life
“So, well done Labour, who have to shoulder much of the responsibility for this debacle and mis-representation.
“Congratulations should also go to ACPO, who continue to share ideas and best practice, co-ordinate resources and help deliver effective policing which keeps the public safe, whilst achieving nothing and letting individual police officers in individual constabularies/services/whatever they are now to do their own thing and totally ignore ACPO.
“So when the politicians and ACPO trumpet that crime rates are falling, bear in mind that they are probably not. The reporting of crime to police is most definitely on the decrease and the statistical léger de main by the statisticians and politicians is leading us to the imaginary Elysian Fields of a crime free society.
“So, in the words of a very famous magician, “Watch not the hand which performs the trick, watch the hand that is not apparently involved”.
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