This study measured the level of variation across the NSW Police Force’s Local Area Commands (LACs) in the proportion of young persons diverted from court, before and after adjusting for factors police may consider when deciding how to proceed against a young person.
Method: Between July 2010 and June 2011, for each LAC in NSW, the number of cases involving young persons that police dealt with by caution or conference referral was calculated as a proportion of all cases proceeded against by caution, conference or court. Factors associated with whether or not a case was diverted from court were examined using multilevel logistic regression.
Results: Excluding ineligible cases, the rate of diversion per LAC ranged between 31 and 95 per cent, with 85 per cent of LACs diverting at least 70 per cent of their eligible cases. Additionally, both before and after taking into account factors that police may consider when deciding whether or not to divert, the amount of variation in police use of diversionary options attributable to LAC was small (less than 5%).
Conclusion: Variation across LACs in the police use of diversionary options was small.