Pre-court diversion seeks to offer a swift and meaningful response to low-level offending. Pre-court diversion has been long recognised as a significant part of the youth justice system. Recently, interest in pre-court diversion for arrested adults has been re-awakened, with the Lammy Review recommending trials of new forms of ‘deferred prosecution’ and recent high-profile projects such as Operation Turning Point in the West Midlands and Checkpoint in Durham. A 2018 survey by the National Police Chiefs’ Council revealed that a majority of police forces across England and Wales are engaged in using or developing pre-court diversion for adults as well as finding both a wide variety in practice and a wide variation in the terms used to describe pre-court diversion.
The purpose of this briefing is to summarise the evidence to date on the impact of pre-court diversion for adults and to draw out some promising practice principles for those working in pre-court diversion schemes.