NEW figures show that violent and sexual offence cases are being closed by officers, allowing some criminals to avoid prosecution.

Community resolutions are an out of court disposal which does not appear on a criminal record or standard DBS check and which will not count as a conviction.

An investigation into their use by the BBC’s Shared Data Unit revealed that, since 2014, North Wales Police have resolved more than 158,000 crimes with a Community Resolution (CR) including incidents of possession of weapons, criminal damage and sexual offences.

The idea behind using the resolution order is that it gives police a chance to deal with minor incidents, where genuine remorse has been expressed, when the victim does not want to push for formal action and often where the offender has committed their first crime.

Superintendent Helen Corcoran of North Wales police said: “The use of Community Resolution started in 2010 and it is worth noting that in many cases the victims do not want to go through the court process. This method is seen as a workable, less stressful alternative for the victim and enables them to get involved in deciding the outcome of their case. We are also able to help put in place suitable interventions to prevent reoffending.

“Community Resolution decisions are regularly reviewed by a scrutiny panel made up of the Probation Service, Magistrates, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Youth Offending Team, the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office, local police and the Administration of Justice Department.”

However, Victim Support - an independent charity that provides specialist support to victims and witnesses of crime - has hit out at the national findings saying it is ‘wholly inappropriate’ to use these and, in some cases, are denying people ‘the justice they deserve’.

A spokesman said: “Community resolutions can be effective for dealing with low level offences, as long as the views of the victims have been firmly taken into account.

“They can result in a quick outcome for the victim and give them closure following the crime. However, the fact that they are being used in cases where a serious offence has been committed, such as a sexual offence, is seriously concerning.

“It is wholly inappropriate to use them in these cases as it means that victims are denied the justice they deserve, and the public could be put at risk if violent and sexual offenders are not receiving a criminal record.

“Too often victims feel let down by a criminal justice system that fails to take their needs into account and using CRs in violent and sexual offence cases will leave many victims feeling that the justice system does not work for them.”

Adding to this - John Bache, national chair of the Magistrates Association, said that cases should be brought to court not only where more serious offences are involved, but when there are other influences to consider.

He said: “When a case comes to court, there are opportunities for all factors to be taken into account including not just the seriousness of the offence, but vulnerabilities of the offender and the impact of the offence on a victim.”