Checkpoint was set up by Durham Constabulary in 2015 with the aim of reducing the number of victims of crime through an innovative approach to cut reoffending.
The four-month long offender management programme is tailor-made to the individual, giving them the opportunity to tackle underlying issues such as their mental health, alcohol and drug misuse.
It aims to improve the life chances of the participants and raises awareness of and provides access to health-based interventions.
Checkpoint, which is open to those aged 18 or over and living in Durham Constabulary’s force area, offers those eligible an alternative to prosecution.
The crime must be less than three months old and was committed in County Durham and Darlington.
Eligible offences include:
- Theft – all theft offences
- Burglary residential* and commercial
- Criminal damage
- Drugs – possession of any controlled drug and also low-level offences linked to the supply of controlled drugs*
- Public order
- Child neglect*
- Standard or medium graded domestic-related crimes*
- Common assault, ABH and assaulting a police officer
- Possession of an offensive weapon/bladed article
- Harassment and malicious communications
- Cyber crimes
*Specific terms apply in these cases
Hate crimes are not accepted for Checkpoint.
An offender, who is assigned a specialist navigator for the duration, must have a complete understanding of their obligations. They must have also made an admission or a “no reply” interview but with the proviso there is sufficient evidence to charge.
Anyone detained for court or under the Mental Health Act is not able to use Checkpoint, nor is someone already subject to a court order, suspended sentence or conditional discharge; the subject is excluded for the period specified in the order and are not eligible if there are any co-accused involved.
As part of Checkpoint, the police will engage with the victim where possible and explain the outcomes that are available to the suspect.
Checkpoint currently offers a deferred prosecution and supported desistance via an individually tailored contract to engage with partner agencies based on the offender’s criminogenic needs.
Checkpoint is not a soft option. It will often be harder for the offender to complete than all of the current out of court disposals currently available to them, such as a caution or a fixed penalty notice.
If the subject successfully completes the contract and does not reoffend during that 4 month period, then no further action will be taken against them.
However, if they re-offend or fail to comply with the conditions of the contract then they will potentially face an alternative prosecution and we will provide the courts with the circumstances of their failure to complete the Checkpoint programme.
Since 2016, Checkpoint has formed part of a PhD study between Durham Constabulary and Cambridge University. The measurable outcomes for this trail is aimed at measuring the reduction of reoffending as well as the seriousness of any reoffending (utilising the Harm Index by the ONS).
The effect on victim satisfaction and the overall cost benefits of each intervention was also evaluated and taken into account.
The foundations for this project has been built on an understanding on what evidence is available to support deterrence and desistence from crime.
The evidence-based research resulted in a published paper through Cambridge University which can be found here: Routledge G 2015 A Protocol and Phase I Experimental Trial: The Checkpoint Desistance Programme in Durham: https://www.crim.cam.ac.uk/alumni/available-theses
All victims who are referred into the Checkpoint programme will be contacted by the team where possible and will also be referred to the Victim Care and Advice Service and Restorative Justice if appropriate.
For more details on the Victim Care and Advice Service call 0303-0401099, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://victimcareandadviceservice.uk/
For Restorative Justice, call 0300-0031818, email email@example.com, or visit http://www.restorativehub.org.uk/