SHOCKING figures reveal that at least 1,000 sex offenders avoided getting a criminal record over the past two years due to apologising to their victims.
Cops handed out “community resolutions” in 1,064 such cases in 2021 and 2022, several of those involved child rape.
Following the murder of Sarah Everard by Met Police officer Wayne Couzens, promises were made to take violence against women and girls seriously but the use of out-of-court sanctions for sexual assault have doubled in just 12 months.
Home Office figures show the number of times the penalty was used in all sexual offences increased by 53 per cent, the Daily Mail reports.
A community resolution, which involves an offender admitting responsibility, is meant to be used by police for low-level crimes.
This could mean an agreement to pay compensation, a rehabilitation activity or a “restorative justice” meeting involving the victim and offender for an apology.
The figures show the sanction was used to settle 643 sex crimes, which included rapes, sexual assaults, grooming and flashing offences, in the 12 months to March 2022, a rise of 53 per cent from the 421 dealt with in the year before.
The number of times it was used to resolve sexual assault cases by the police in this way has doubled from 178 in 2021 to 371 in 2022.
Lincolnshire Police handed out the penalty in four child rape cases last year, one of which involved a girl under 13.
The sanction was used after two rapes of girls under 13 by officers in Nottinghamshire.
Police in Norfolk also used it in the case of the rape of a young boy in 2020.
Some of the sexual offences could have occurred between consenting underage children where, while the incident is recorded as a crime, cops believe it would be too severe to take the teenager to court for their punishment.
The figures, though, also reveal that community resolutions are being handed out for adult offences, including sexual exploitation of a child.
Police bosses say the penalty is usually used in relation to sexual offences only if the victim consents for the crime to be handled that way.
However, the chief executive of Rape Crisis England and Wales Jayne Bulter said: “We do not believe that restorative justice or community resolutions are appropriate remedies for sex offences, or other forms of violence against women and girls.
“Justice solutions such as these minimise the severity of sexual violence and its impact on survivors and fail to acknowledge the inherent power dynamics at play in these types of crimes.”
She added: “It’s important to understand that even so-called ‘low-level’ forms of sexual violence can be extremely traumatising.
“Whilst perpetrators are being given second chances, victims and survivors are left to deal with the impacts of their experiences.”
Commander Alison Heydari of the National Police Chiefs’ Council though said community resolutions were “typically applied where schoolchildren share inappropriate images or in cases of sex between underage children”.
She added: “We have made it clear that out-of-court disposals are not to be used in serious cases.
“Officers take into consideration all circumstances of a case, with victims’ wishes at the centre of our decision-making.
“Community resolutions and other out-of-court disposals are only used in a very small number of sexual offence cases.”
The recent report into Scotland Yard which was overseen by Baroness Casey painted a disturbing picture of the force and how it deals with sexual offences.
Rape cases are being dropped because samples are kept in “over-stuffed dilapidated or broken fridges and freezers”.
One officer told the review that rape detection rates were so low “you may as well say it is legal in London”.
Couzens exposed himself to two frightened attendants at a McDonald’s drive-through in Kent, just three days before he snatched Sarah from a South London street in March 2021.
Scotland Yard were given a description of him, his car registration number and bank card details but cops failed to investigate until he was arrested for the abduction and murder of Sarah.
A woman flashed by Couzens said: “If he had been held accountable when we had reported the crime, we could have saved Sarah.”
Couzens is serving a whole life sentence for the murder of Sarah.