What is Divert?
Cleveland Divert aims to divert first time and low-level offenders from the criminal justice system and towards support. This helps to address the underlying problems, which lead to offending.
Instead of charging and prosecuting offenders, Divert provides a range of support – known as pathways – to help them. Pathways may include help with mental health, substance misuse, education or housing problems.
Participants are expected to engage with support to help them address the issues, which led to their criminal behaviour.
As part of Divert, offenders may be asked to do something to re-pay the community. This may include voluntary or restorative work. If a victim requests that an offender engages with Restorative Justice, this could 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 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 doing the following:
- Putting victims at the heart of the process. Restorative Justice and victim awareness are an essential part of Divert, giving victims 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. Divert is a multi-agency partnership. As a result, it requires fewer police resources and frees 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 praised both programmes as innovative ways to tackle crime, address substance misuse and prevent re-offending
Since its launch in January 2019, Divert has achieved the following:
- 372 men and women have taken part
- Re-offending rates for people taking part were 4.5% compared to 13.3% for those, who refused to engage.