Out of Court Disposals (OOCDs) allow police to deal quickly and proportionately with low-level offending without recourse to the courts. One type of OOCD is community resolution. This is a non-statutory disposal that can be administered by police forces when the offender accepts responsibility for the offence, and in most cases, where the victim has agreed that they do not want more formal action taken.
‘Community resolution’ is a nationally recognised term for a disposal which has been in use by police for some years, and prior to 2014. In 2014, following consultation, the Ministry of Justice identified support for community resolution as part of a simplified framework for OOCDs in which all disposals had conditions attached.
The College of Policing hold guidance on the use of community resolutions:
http://library.college.police.uk/docs/appref/Community-Resolutions-Incorporating-RJ-Final-Aug-2012-2.pdf (this was also summarised as part of a quick reference guide published by Ministry of Justice in 2013: https://www.yjlc.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/MoJ-Quick-reference-guides-out-of-court-disposals-2013.pdf).
Individual decisions around the appropriateness of issuing an OOCD are an operational matter for police.
Typically, a Constable, Police Community Support Officer or Police Staff Investigator can decide to issue a community resolution, in accordance with Authorised Professional Practice, gravity matrices and local force policies which inform decision making.
Police and partners have a range of measures in place to ensure appropriate use of Out of Court Disposals. Supervisors are expected to check decision-making of their staff regularly. Out of Court Disposal scrutiny panels are also in place with external representation - these review in detail a selection of cases to determine whether the method of disposal is considered appropriate, based on a review of the information/evidence available to the decision maker at the time.
Government works closely with the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) whose Charging and Out of Court Disposals strategy (2017-2021) sets out their position and support for forces around OOCDs. We publish data and pay attention to trends in the use of Out of Court Disposals on an ongoing basis.