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Out of Court Disposals - Scrutiny Panel

Out of Court Disposals for Adults and Youths

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) define Out of Court Disposals (OoCDs) as “One of several methods of concluding the action of the criminal justice system in respect of a crime without proceeding to a prosecution. They are administered by the police and help them to deal quickly and proportionately with low-level, often first-time offences.”

For more information on OoCDs please follow the link below:

Out of Court Disposals | South Wales Police (south-wales.police.uk)

Out of Court Disposal Scrutiny Panels

There has been an adult OoCD Scrutiny Panel in the South Wales Police (SWP) force area since 2014. They sit quarterly and are Chaired by a member of the Judiciary.

The panel convenes both standard meetings and thematic meetings and provide transparency and accountability, increasing the public understanding , confidence and trust in how SWP use OoCDs.

 The purpose of the adult and youth scrutiny panels is to determine whether the method of disposal is considered appropriate, based on a review of the information/evidence available to the decision maker at the time. The panel considers the offence category, severity of offence, evidence present at the time of disposal, rationale in officers’ decision-making process and whether decisions were victim focused.  

Youth panels have been developing since 2021, recognising the need for distinct youth panels.

The aim of panel is:

  • to bring greater transparency, consistency, and accountability in the use of OoCD and to increase the understanding, confidence, and trust in this method of case disposal.
  • to provide reassurance to all interested parties and ensure victims are at the heart of decision making in relation to OoCDs. This includes ensuring that victims are listened to, and their concerns addressed throughout the victim’s journey through the Criminal Justice Service.
  • to scrutinise whether the OoCDs have conditions attached to them which seek to address underlying offending behaviour through rehabilitative conditions and/or enable swift reparation to victims and communities.

Feedback from the panel is shared with individual officers, their supervisors and included in officers’ training and refresher training to ensure individual learning and cross organisational learning.

The feedback identifies potential training needs, or policy development for consideration by SWP and other relevant agencies.

Panel Process

A dip sample of cases are selected by a member of Judiciary and a member of the Commissioner’s office in advance of the panel meeting.  Each case is reviewed and discussed in detail and members vote as to how they feel each case was disposed as follows:

1 = Appropriate and consistent with policy

2 = Appropriate with observations

3 = Inappropriate and inconsistent with policy

4 = Panel unable to reach a decision

In cases where the panel are unable to reach a conclusion, the Chair has the deciding vote.

Members consist of representatives from a cross section of internal and external stakeholders such as:

  • The Police and Crime Commissioner Office (OPCC)
  • Magistrate Bench Chair
  • His Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service
  • The Crown Prosecution Service
  • District Crown Prosecutor
  • Independent Panel Member
  • South Wales Police (SWP)
  • South Wales Justice Services
  • His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service
  • Victim Support services

 Reports will be published on the OPCC website.

Adult OoCD Scrutiny Panels

 

Section 1

Thematic Reports

 Assaults on Emergency Services Workers

 

 

 

 

 

Section 2

Summary of Panel Findings

 

Section 3

Annual Report

 

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