What is Divert?
Cleveland Divert aims to divert first time and low-level offenders away from the criminal justice system and towards support to address underlying problems.
Instead of charging offenders and prosecuting them, Divert provides a range of support – known as pathways – to help them. Support may include help with mental health, substance misuse, education or housing problems.
People on the programme are expected to engage with support to help them address the issues, which led to their criminal behaviour.
As part of the programme, offenders may be asked to do something to re-pay the community. This may be voluntary or restorative work. If the victim requests that the offender engages with Restorative Justice, this may form part of the offender’s programme.
If offenders do not complete the programme, they risk being charged and taken to court for their original offence.
How Divert works?
Research shows prosecuting first time and low level offenders does not prevent them from re-offending.
With high levels of re-offending in Cleveland, it is essential that offenders get support to turn their lives around at the earliest opportunity. In turn, this reduces the potential to create more victims of crime.
Divert works by:
- Putting victims at the heart of the process. Restorative Justice and victim awareness as an essential part of Divert. This give the victim an opportunity to have their voice heard.
- Creating safer communities by reducing re-offending. By reducing people becoming entrenched in a cycle of offending, Divert minimises the impact on victims and communities. In turn, this increases public confidence in policing and builds safer, more cohesive communities.
- Reducing the demand on policing. Police are under increasing pressure and have fewer resources to deal with incidents. Divert is a multi-agency partnership so it requires fewer police resources and frees up officers to deliver frontline policing.
The programme is led by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and delivered by Cleveland Police and Durham Tees Valley Community Rehabilitation Company.
In March 2020, the PCC-funded Heroin Assisted Treatment scheme and Cleveland Divert were recognised by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation.
HMI Probation saw both as innovative ways to tackle crime, address substance misuse and prevent re-offending
Since Divert launched in January 2019:
- 372 men and women have taken part in Divert
- Re-offending rates for people, who refused to take part, were 13.3%. Rates for Divert participants are 4.5%