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08 December 2021

What are community resolutions?

3 mins

Community resolutions are frequently used by police to deal with low-level offending. If you accept a community resolution, you are not prosecuted and therefore not required to attend court. Like a police caution or a Fixed Penalty Notice, a community resolution is an ‘out of court’ disposal. So, what are the key things you should know about community resolutions before accepting them? Ella Jefferson, solicitor in our Criminal law team, explains below.

What types of offences can community resolutions be offered for?

Different police forces apply slightly different policies regarding when it is appropriate to offer an offender a community resolution. Community resolutions may be offered to first time offenders who have committed offences including:

  • Possession of drugs (class A, B or C)
  • Common assault /assault by beating
  • Drunk and disorderly
  • Theft
  • Low level public order offences
  • Criminal damage under £5,000

This is not a comprehensive list. It is rare for community resolutions to be offered for offences including sexual assault or possession of an offensive weapon. However, in exceptional circumstances it may be possible to argue that a community resolution is the appropriate disposal option in dealing with those offences too. It is also possible to be offered a community resolution even if you have been offered one before, depending on the circumstances of the offending in both cases.

When can I be offered a community resolution?

You can only be offered a community resolution if you accept that you committed the offence and agree to engage in some form of reparation. The reparation can range from an apology, promising that you will not engage in the conduct again, or even attending a course to address the root cause of the offending behaviour.

Does the victim have to agree before I am given a community resolution?

Providing the offence does not have a direct victim (i.e. possession of drugs), the views of the victim will be sought before offering you a community resolution. Their views will be relevant but not determinative. A community resolution may be the most appropriate manner of dealing with the offence even if it is not supported by the victim.

Does a community resolution stay on my record?

A community resolution is not a caution or conviction. It is not recorded on your Police National Computer (PNC). There is no associated power to take fingerprints and/or DNA when issuing a community resolution. If these have been obtained on arrest for the original offence, they should be deleted if a community resolution is issued.

Will a community resolution appear on a DBS check?

A community resolution should not appear on a standard Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) check. It may, however, appear on an enhanced DBS check.

If you wish for further advice on whether you should accept a community resolution, please contact one of the lawyers in our Criminal law team by completing our enquiry form, or calling us on +44 (0)20 7014 2020.

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