Significant rise in community resolution orders during the pandemic - what does this mean for offenders?

Community resolution orders (CROs) have been hitting the headlines recently due to their increased use during the pandemic. While some have criticised them as too mild to be used for more serious offences, for those facing a criminal charge, they can offer an alternative to criminal proceedings. That said, it is important to understand exactly what a CRO involves and the impact it may have on your life if you accept one or have accepted one.

Here are the important things you need to know about community resolution orders.  

What is a community resolution order? 

In simple terms, a community resolution order allows police officers to deal with less serious offences in an informal way, meaning the offender does not have to face formal court proceedings.

A community resolution order might require the offender to take actions such as:

  • Apologising to the victim
  • Compensating the victim
  • Cleaning and/or clearing up any criminal damage

What are the types of community resolution orders?

A police officer will decide on the type of community resolution that they consider suitable, usually taking into account what the victim thinks is acceptable under the Victim Code, although ultimately, the officer will have the final decision.


Offenders sometimes commit crimes due to particular factors in their lives. For example, this could be anything from problems with addiction, both alcohol or drug abuse, accommodation issues, ill-health – mental or physical, education, employment to problems with debt.

If the offence was related to a factor in their life, the officers might require the offender to engage with support workers, as CROs are able to provide interventions through partner agencies.


There are two types of reparation that may be included as part of a community resolution order:

Direct reparations – Made to the victim of the crime. For example, it might be financial compensation or helping to resolve damage, such as clearing or cleaning.

Indirect reparations – Usually made to the wider community, where they will do a voluntary type of service such as litter picking, etc. 

Warning and Agreement

This is usually where the offender receives a warning and is told of the impact of their crime on either the victim or the wider community. Once warned, they are required to sign an Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC); without the signature, the resolution is not complete.

Restorative Justice meeting or conference

A restorative justice meeting is a resolution arranged by the police for the victim and offender to meet and discuss the crime and the impact it had on the victim and anyone else involved. The resolution will not be considered complete if the offender does not attend and actively engage with the meeting.

What type of offender is suitable for a community resolution order? 

Community resolution orders are aimed at first-time offenders, but only for small scale offences where it was an isolated instance, and the police believe that it is unlikely for the offender to commit an offence again.

Why are community resolution orders used?

There are a few main reasons as to why the police force use CROs:

  • If an offender commits a crime for the first time, a CRO allows them to have a second chance to make amends for their crime without having a criminal conviction on their record. It helps them to prevent their mistake from affecting their future.
  • A community resolution order allows the victim of a crime to be able to have a say in the matter and how it is dealt with by the police.
  • A community resolution order is a quicker process than pursuing a criminal conviction, making it faster and simpler to resolve the matter for the victim, the police and the offender.

Does a community resolution order show as a criminal record?

No, community resolution orders do not show on the Police National Computer (PNC) as a criminal record. They are, however, stored on police information systems so the data can be accessed, if for example, the offender committed a crime again.

Do community resolution orders turn up on a disclosure and barring service (DBS) check?

A standard DBS check will not show the community resolution order, but if the type of work you are applying for relates to the committed offence, it might be disclosed in an enhanced check under the ‘relevant information’ section, although this is extremely rare.

Should I accept a community resolution order?

If you have committed an offence, then admitting it and accepting a community resolution order will often be the best option as it allows you to avoid criminal proceedings and the risk of more serious sanctions and a criminal record.

However, you should always take specialist legal advice before admitting to an offence, so please speak to one of our team before making a decision.

Can an offender refuse a community resolution order?

If you have admitted to an offence and been issued with a CRO, you will need to comply with its terms or you could face criminal proceedings for the original offence.

Can you get community resolution orders removed?

If you aren’t happy with the community resolution order decision, you can complain to the Chief Constable or Commissioner of the administering force, but it is usually only overturned under exceptional circumstances.

Get in touch with our expert solicitors today

For advice on community resolution orders or any other criminal law matters, please contact our expert criminal defence solicitors in Bournemouth.

You can call us on 01202 552777, email, or fill in our online enquiry form.