Cambridgeshire Constabulary has announced a new approach to tackle reoffending that will see some “low-level crimes” dealt with before they go through the court system.

Following what the police described as "early success in Peterborough", the new approach will now be rolled out across the county in a bid to combat reoffending by criminals.

According to the Ministry of Justice, the percentage of offenders in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who go on to reoffend within a year of conviction is about 25 per cent.

The new approach, funded through the Home Office's Innovation Fund, will aim to tackle the root cause of offending behaviour by offering conditional cautions.

The conditional cautions, the police say, can then help steer individuals away from criminal behaviour.

The constabulary, in partnership with the county's police and crime commissioner, has been working with HMP Peterborough and Outside Links since August 2016, to identify offenders and postpone their prosecutions, putting in place suitable conditions to help them to rebuild their lives.

Conditional cautions will be agreed on an individual basis following an assessment. Examples of the kind of issues where support has been made available for individuals are: housing issues, anger management, drugs or alcohol misuse, mental health, employment, education and training and support for debt management.

Outside Links provides continued support for both men and women who have spent time at HMP Peterborough to help reduce the risk of reoffending, as well as the wider community.

Detective Chief Inspector Dominic Human, who is leading the project, said:

"Going through the court system can have a detrimental effect on some offenders, causing them to reoffend almost immediately after they have served their sentence. With low level crimes, this scheme enables us to support individuals away from criminal behaviour, allowing them to learn from their mistakes rather than being adversely affected for the rest of their lives by a criminal record.

"It also helps save money from court processes and related police time."

Police and crime commissioner, Jason Ablewhite said: "Far too many people are reoffending so we need to put a foot in the so-called 'revolving door'. There are often ways in which targeted support can divert individuals away from criminal behaviour. "Whether it's a housing, employment or debt issue, the right support at the right time can make a very big difference to someone's future and prevent future victims of crime."