WILTSHIRE’S police commissioner has called for more crimes to be dealt with by way of community resolutions.

But new figures show his force is using far fewer of the out-of-court disposals, which are essentially an agreement between the perpetrator and his victim to make amends through an apology or making good damage done. They are not court convictions or cautions and do not appear on a person’s criminal record.

The number of community resolutions organised by Wiltshire Police fell by 40 per cent between 2014/15 and 2017/18, from 1,039 to 618.

Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire and Swindon police and crime commissioner, said he was keen to commission schemes involving police, the NHS, social workers, schools and housing associations, aimed at reducing offending and intervening early with “troubled families”.

“I would like to see more of this work done,” he said.

“Community resolutions are mainly for first time, low-level crime where offenders are truly remorseful and accept full responsibility for their offence.

“If the police are satisfied that public interest can be met by dealing outside of the court process, then this has to be the preferred approach.

“A scrutiny panel, made up of independent members of the judiciary, oversees the decisions made around the correct use of community resolutions – ensuring that they are appropriately used or not used depending on the crime committed.”

Five years ago, community resolutions made up almost four per cent of all cases dealt with by the Wiltshire force, according to Home Office figures crunched by the BBC. In 2017/18 it was less than half that.

Theft offences, such as shoplifting and burglaries, made the bulk of the most recent community resolutions – with 238 cases dealt with through the informal contracts between victim and perpetrator.

There were 164 community resolutions for violent offences, 178 for criminal damage, 19 for drug offences and just two for possession of weapons. No robbers or sex offenders were given a community resolution.

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said: “By encouraging offenders to face up to the impact of their behaviour and to take responsibility for making good any harm caused, a community resolution can reduce the likelihood of their reoffending.”

“Community resolutions are primarily aimed at first time, low-level offenders where a genuine remorse has been expressed and they have accepted full responsibility for the offence being investigated. If officers are satisfied that public interest can be met by dealing out of court, then this is the preferred approach.”