Out of Court Scrutiny Panel

The aim of Out of Court Scrutiny Panel is to determine whether the method of disposal is considered appropriate.

Out of Court Resolutions allow the police to deal effectively and proportionately with low-level, often first-time offending without a prosecution at court. They provide the victim with reparative options and address the offender’s behaviour through conditions that can be both punitive and rehabilitative. They are victim focused, taking into account the full circumstances of the offence, offender and views of the victim. 

The police must take the views of a victim into consideration however, the ultimate decision of sanctioning an out of court resolution rests with the police. An offender has to admit they committed the offence for an out of court resolution to be considered and they must be eligible in terms of previous recorded offending. 

Out of Court Resolutions can maximise the use of police officer time – achieving a satisfactory outcome for the victim and wider public. They also provide intervention and support to potential offenders at the early stages in criminal behaviour, diverting them into rehabilitative services to help reduce escalation of offending. 

You can read more about Durham Constabulary’s Out of Court Resolution Policy here: Out-of-Court-Disposals

Purpose of Out of Court Resolutions Scrutiny Panel

The purpose of the County Durham and Darlington Out of CourtResolutions Scrutiny Panel is to independently review a selection of anonymisedcases that have been resolved by use of an out of court resolution in CountyDurham and Darlington. Its aim is to determine whether the method of disposalis considered appropriate, based on a review of the information/ evidenceavailable to the decision marker at the time. 

In reviewing a case, the Panel will discuss and agree acategorisation against four options as below. The use of out of court resolution is:
1.            Appropriate and consistent with Police Policies/ the CPS Code for Crown Prosecutors. (See Appendix B for Policy Summary)
2.            Appropriate with observations
3.            Inappropriate and inconsistent with policy
4.            Panel fails to reach a conclusion and more information is required. 

The Panel cannot change the outcome of the case, but where it is appropriate to do so, can give feedback at an organisational level or,where fitting to be conveyed to individuals of each agency involved in a particular case. The aim of providing feedback is to promote best practice and identify potential policy development or training needs for consideration by the force or other agencies. 


The Office of the Durham Police and Crime Commissioner chairs the Panel.

Membership of the Panel includes representatives from the following bodies:
•                The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
•                Durham Constabulary
•                The Crown Prosecution Service
•                Durham and Darlington Youth Justice Services
•                The North East Probation Service
•                Durham Magistracy and Youth Magistracy
•                Victim Service Provider-Victim Care and Advice Service 

Durham PCC Logo

Terms of Reference and Meeting Dates

Prior to 2024, the Panel was a joint Cleveland and Durham scrutiny panel. The new terms of reference can be found here.

Scrutiny panel meetings are taking place: 
5th March 2024
5th June 2024
5th September 2024
5th December 2024