CLEVELAND Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s team have been shortlisted for two awards which recognises their work with offenders.

The teams have been shortlisted in two categories of the national Howard League for Penal Reform Community Awards 2021 - Organisation of the Year and Policing and Adults.

Both award nominations relate to the ground-breaking Divert scheme, which is funded and led by the PCC. It is delivered in partnership with Cleveland Police and the Probation Service.

Divert is a custody diversion programme for first-time and low-level offenders, aged 18-plus.

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It provides early intervention to divert offenders away from the criminal justice system and towards support to that aims to address the underlying causes of their offending behaviour. This programme has now proven its ability to prevent individuals from becoming repeat offenders in future.

Furthermore, this frees up future demand for police and other services, saving public resources and money in the long-term - as well as creating fewer victims of crime.

Restorative justice is an important part of the recovery process for victims. It also helps to drive home the impact of offending and shows how it effects others.

Since its inception in December 2018, more than 700 referrals have been accepted onto the programme with the vast majority going on to lead crime free lives.

Re-offending rates for participants completing Divert show that for every 100 participants less than six go on to re-offend .

Divert's 5.8% re-offending rate is significantly lower than Cleveland’s total re-offending rate of 36.7% and the national figure of 28%.

Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner said: “Shortlisting for these two prestigious awards rightly recognises the hard work carried out by my team which is making a real difference to the criminal justice system.

“It also highlights the effectiveness of partnership working and bringing in expertise from a number of relevant sources.”

The Organisation of the Year Award recognises those, who are making a real difference by trying to divert people away from the criminal justice system.

Cleveland’s team was acknowledged for its role in the formation of Divert. The awards take place on October 19.

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