Jo Robson, Joanne Foreman and Bronwen Elphick from DTV CRC, Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger, and, from Cleveland Police, Superintendent Tariq Ali and Divert Constable PC Nicola Wijensinghe
An innovative scheme to steer first-time offenders away from a life of crime has won regional recognition.
The Cleveland Divert programme is an adult deferred prosecution scheme which aims to keep low-level, first-time offenders out of the criminal justice system by supporting them and offering them the chance to tackle the key reasons behind their offending behaviour.
The scheme assesses each participant’s motivations for committing the crime in the first place, which may include substance misuse, housing concerns, physical or mental disability, employment problems or relationship trouble.
The participant then agrees to follow a voluntary plan, which may include some aspect of restorative justice, or giving back to the community. When individuals successfully complete the programme, they will not have a criminal record. If they fail to comply with the agreement, prosecution may still go ahead.
Divert, which is funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and delivered by Durham Tees Valley Community Rehabilitation Company, along with Cleveland Police, has seen the development of a unique partnership to address offending at the earliest opportunity.
Durham Tees Valley CRC’s experience in rehabilitating vulnerable females has been recognised by NEPACS in its Ruth Cranfield Good Practice Awards for Rehabilitation 2019.
Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger has pledged to tackle offending and reoffending across Cleveland in his Police and Crime Plan. He said: “I’m delighted that the Divert team has received this recognition from NEPACS.
“I’m incredibly proud to have commissioned this scheme, which offers a problem solving approach in offending and re-offending, and keeping often vulnerable people away from the criminal justice system.”
To date, the scheme has engaged with almost 300 individuals and early indications show that participants are being helped to turn their lives around.
Bronwen Elphick, Chief Executive at Durham Tees Valley CRC, said: “DTV CRC is privileged to play its part in such an innovative scheme to help low-level offenders.
“In an area which has some of the highest adult reoffending rates in the country, the Divert scheme has the potential to make a real difference to the lives of participants, keeping them out of the criminal justice system and helping them to make more positive life choices.
“This award gives our approach the stamp of approval and shows Cleveland Divert has the backing of experts in the field.”
Each year the NEPACS awards recognise innovative good practice in promoting rehabilitation of offenders by prison staff, probation/CRC staff, voluntary sector and other professionals. This year’s awards were presented by Dr Jo Farrar, chief executive of HM Prison and Probation Service at an event at Lumley Castle in Chester-le-Street.
To learn more about Cleveland Divert, click here.
Posted on Monday 21st October 2019