South Yorkshire Police: Force issues statement defending use of 'community resolutions' in sexual offences

South Yorkshire Police has re-issued a statement defending its use of “community resolutions” for 78 sexual offences after coming under fire.

Monday, 13th June 2022, 2:15 pm

The force has posted the statement on its Twitter account a number of times today as users question its application of the community resolution scheme, first reported by The Star back in April.

In a statement on its website, South Yorkshire Police said: “We treat all reports of sexual assaults seriously, but on occasion Community Resolution is an opportunity to divert offenders away from the criminal justice system and provide an effective, efficient and proportionate resolution.”

When cases have a direct victim, these resolutions can include outcomes like an apology and/or an agreed form of compensation.

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Picture shows a Police car. South Yorkshire Police have used community resolutions for sexual offences more than any other UK force

The police statement, which was posted again on South Yorkshire Police’s website last week, explained the decision to use community resolutions take a lot of factors into account, including the personal wishes of the victim and the nature of the offence.

Other forces in the UK, such as Durham, Nottingham and Cheshire, have been found to have used these resolutions for rape cases involving minors, something which South Yorkshire Police said it has not done.

The criticism came after the Daily Mirror revealed 870 sexual offenders across the UK have got away without a criminal record after the use of community resolution.

The Mirror revealed South Yorkshire Police has used community resolutions as an outcome for sexual offences more than any other force.

Rotherham abuse survivor Sammy Woodhouse, aged 36, told the Mirror she was “furious” to learn of the use of the scheme and said it “shows lessons haven’t been learned at all”.

She said: “It is just insane. Why on earth would you allow a sex offender to say sorry and not be criminalised?”

When used across the country in 2020, 414 of the 870 community resolutions were for sexual assault cases. 166 cases of voyeurism and exposure and 23 cases of grooming were resolved using the same method.

South Yorkshire Police categorically denies using community resolutions for rape cases, saying none of the 78 sexual offences resolved in this way were rape.

The Star has requested information on the nature of the 78 offences for which community resolutions were used.