You may have been offered a Community Resolution (CR) by a police officer as a way of resolving an allegation against you and you may be unsure what to do. The police issued more than 100,000 CRs in 2020, and the vast majority were given to people with little or no previous experience with the Criminal Justice System.

Quite understandably, many people will be unsure whether it is in their interests to accept a CR. It is also important to be fully aware of the possible implications of having a CR on your record and how this could affect your future.

In our experience, it is not uncommon for CRs to be inappropriately offered by police officers so that they can conclude their investigations with a ‘result’. This behaviour seems to have been noted in a Government Report, which said that Out of Court Disposals had been inappropriately issued in up to 30% of cases.

If you or a family member are offered a CR, it is important to receive quality legal advice before coming to a decision, especially if you hold any reservations or concerns.

We can offer consultations to clients in any part of England and Wales via video conferencing software (Zoom, Whatsapp, Facetime, Skype etc). If you would prefer a face to face meeting, this can be arranged at one of our offices.

What is a Community Resolution?

Community Resolutions are described by the police as an alternative way of dealing with less serious crime. The ‘offender’ must accept responsibility for the offence and the ‘victim’s’ views are taken into account. The resolution will involve some form of reparation, such as a letter of apology, an offer of compensation, or a promise to simply leave the area immediately.

Should I accept a Community Resolution?

Whether an individual should accept a Community Resolution (CR) is completely dependent on the facts of a particular case. It is important to understand that any acceptance of a CR carries an admission that you have committed the offence in question.

Where the evidence of an offence is strong and the alternative to a CR would likely be a Simple Caution or even a criminal prosecution, it may be the best outcome possible.

However, there are many situations where this judgement is less clear. If the main witness is not particularly supportive of police action or an individual has a possible defence to the allegations, it may not be in your interests to accept a CR.

Can I refuse a Community Resolution?

Yes. It is your decision whether you sign the paperwork and agree to the Community Resolution. You are free to say no. This would then leave the police officer (or in some circumstances the Crown Prosecution Service) with the decision of whether to drop the investigation or prosecute the offence in court.

Does Community Resolution show on DBS?

Community Resolutions are not disclosed as part of a Standard Check by the Disclosure and Barring Service. However, they may appear as part of an enhanced check under the ‘relevant information’ section.

Is a Community Resolution a Criminal Record?

A Community Resolution (CR) is not a ‘criminal record’ is not currently recorded on the Police National Computer. Nevertheless, they are recorded locally on police information systems and can be accessed for intelligence purposes. A previous CR will be taken into account by the police or the court if further offences are committed.

Can a youth be given a Community Resolution?

Yes. Community Resolutions can be issued to youths (10-17), however a parent or legal guardian must be informed prior to any action being taken. It is best practice for the parent / legal guardian to be physically present during the decision making process, although a telephone call is deemed sufficient.

A Youth can not be given a CR for possession of cannabis unless the matter has been referred to the Youth Offending Service.

Can the police take my fingerprints or DNA as part of a Community Resolution?

Unless you have been arrested as part of the investigation, the police have no power to take fingerprints or DNA.

What services can Reeds Solicitors offer?

The starting point is normally a consultation with one of our specialist solicitors. We would need to take your detailed instructions on the matter and assess any available evidence.

We can answer any questions that you may have. You would also be advised on whether it is in your interests to accept the CR. This will involve a careful judgment about the particular facts of your case.

In some circumstances, we can make written representations to the police that a CR is not an appropriate outcome and that the investigation should be ‘No Further Actioned’ (ie dropped).

If you have already signed the paperwork to accept a CR, in exceptional cases we can submit an appeal, seeking to have it rescinded. MET police guidance states that CRs should only be issued where the recipient has capacity. The CR may have been unfairly issued if mental health issues were present at the time.

Please contact us below if you would like to arrange a consultation.

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