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Female offender diversion pilot

This is an evaluation of an pilot developed by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and partners to divert women from the criminal justice system.

Key details

Lead institution
Principal researcher(s)
Adele Harrison
Police region
Collaboration and partnership

Advance Partnership.

Level of research
Professional/work based
Project start date
Date due for completion

Research context

The Mayor’s Police and Crime Plan (PCP) 2017 to 2021 identified a clear need to make available diversion options for the police when dealing with adult female offenders. The PCP has also promoted a wider shift towards prevention and diversion for low risk female offenders.

As a result, the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC), the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), and partners, have developed a pilot that provides an opportunity for women to be diverted from the criminal justice system.

The Female Diversion Pilot is intended to assist female offenders turn their lives around by diverting them from the criminal justice system by means of a conditional caution as an out of court disposal for low-harm offences.

Advance Partnership have been commissioned to provide support services for females in the criminal justice system as part of the pilot. As with any conditional caution, failure to meet the terms of the condition (in this case, attendance at two appointments at a local women’s centre), may result in prosecution for the original offence.

MOPAC Evidence and Insight (E&I) Team is conducting an evaluation (process, performance and, where feasible, impact) of this initiative.

The key objectives for the evaluation are to:

  • monitor delivery of the programme in terms of referrals and activities

  • describe and assess the implementation and delivery process of the programme according to key objectives

  • capture the views of key agencies and practitioners

  • capture the views of women engaged in the scheme and assess how the scheme affects their quality of life

  • capture information on the key characteristics and needs of those offered support via the initiative

  • assess impact of the initiative on reoffending, if base size allows

Research methodology

Evaluation methodology overview

Performance metrics provides regular core metrics (for example, service usage and throughput, and client details and demographics) enabling general service monitoring and ensures an active feedback loop for programme management and governance. Case level information will be required for all women on the scheme.

Impact evaluation provides a robust empirical assessment of the programme in achieving the core aim of reducing offending (for example, leading short-term impact measures of arrest and charge data), in addition to longer-term reconviction data (for example, proven re-offending, severity, speed, frequency).

It is anticipated that a propensity score matching method will be utilised to generate a matched comparison group, drawn from boroughs that receive no alike service. Other potential measures of impact in terms of assessing change over time include number of custodial sentences used, and Outcomes Star scores.

Process learning generates in-depth understanding of processes underpinning service delivery, including learning from mobilisation to inform design of future operating models and implementation.

MOPAC E&I will conduct interviews with staff, stakeholders and service users, enabling a qualitative review of the whole systems approach. The process evaluation will also utilise regular partner agency surveys (MPS, Judiciary, and Probation), and case note coding to capture more in-depth understanding of the day-to-day processes and interactions with service users.

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