WEST Mercia Police has resolved hundreds of violent offences and criminal damage cases, plus public order and some sex offences, with Community Resolutions over the last four years - a BBC investigation has revealed.

The force has issued 9,386 Community Resolutions for a variety of crimes between 2014-18 – analysis of official figures by the BBC's Shared Data Unit has shown.

Figures, obtained from Crime Outcomes data published annually by the Home Office, show three per cent of all 293,438 crime outcomes in the West Mercia Police force area over the four years were resolved with a Community Resolution which does not appear on a criminal record or standard DBS check and which will not count as a conviction.

However - the use of such out of court resolutions, which are aimed at first-time offenders where genuine remorse has been expressed and where the victim does not want police to take more formal action, has decreased over the last four years.

In 2014-15 five per cent of all crimes in the West Mercia Police force area were dealt with by way of a Community Resolution but the number of offences resolved this way dropped to just two per cent in 2017-18.

In that year the force resolved 405 violent offences (out of 27,264 cases) with a CR, five sexual offences (out of 3,313 crimes), 815 theft cases (out of 32,149 crimes), 42 public order offences (out of 4,346 cases) and 292 cases of criminal damage (out of 10,386 crimes).

One robbery and two possession of weapon cases and four drug offences were also resolved with CRs.

Dawn Hartland, head of criminal justice and strategic custody for West Mercia Police, said: “West Mercia Police, alongside all forces within England and Wales use a range of methods in addition to a court process in order to deal with a wide range of offences.

“Community Resolution is extremely useful in providing a much quicker resolution to our victims of crime and if linked with Restorative Resolution and other interventions can be successful in breaking the offending cycle particularly of repeat offenders.

“In the right circumstances, victims can avoid a long and drawn out court process and receive closure to their offence much more quickly.

"In terms of the data supplied, only 0.96 per cent or five sexual offences (out of 3,313 crimes) were resolved via a Community Resolution in West Mercia in 2017-18.

"Those offences would have been through rigorous scrutiny both by line management within the local policing area and are always with the consent of the victim. Additionally we have an independent scrutiny panel which meets four times a year.

"This panel is made up of magistrates and members of the CPS, Probation Service, Youth Justice Service, Children and Families Service, office of Police and Crime Commissioner, Force Crime Bureau, Crime and Incident Registrar and provides relevant feedback to the force about any misuse by officers of Community Resolutions.”