The Turning-Point Project

Randomised Control Trial Status


Trial Hypothesis

​Offenders who have not been previously been convicted at court, but whom the police would otherwise charge for prosecution, can be more cost effectively dealt with by police-led offender management than by prosecution, subject to a condition of the certainty of  prosecution in the event of reoffending or breaking an agreed “contract” about their conduct.

Geographical area

Birmingham, UK

Research Institution / Organisation

University of Cambridge

In Collaboration With

West Midlands Police and Birmingham Youth Offending Service

Project Start Date

May 2011

Participants - inclusion criteria

Offenders who have been arrested by West Midlands Police within the 2 Divisions (Birmingham South and Birmingham East) within the trial area and who the custody officer decides satisfy the following conditions: there is sufficient evidence to meet the CPS Code evidential test; they are not considered suitable for informal resolution, caution, Penalty Notices for Disorder (PND) or conditional caution; their case meets the CPS Code threshold as being in the public interest to prosecute; they have no prior court convictions for a criminal offence

Target Sample Size

400 (200 treatment; 200 control)

Study Design

​Basic randomised control trial comparing treatment to control


​All the subjects allocated to treatment must have a “diagnosis meeting” with a member of the offender management team within 72 hours of arrest (normally within 24 hours but because of a lack of weekend cover some cases may need an appointment up to 72 hours) and must sign a “turning point contract” setting out the actions, including no reoffending, which they have agreed to following on from the “diagnosis meeting”. Cases where these two conditions are not applied cannot be considered to have met the conditions of the treatment.

Summary of Findings

Turning Point storyboard with victim-offender overlap

Rejecting randomisation - Custody Officer quality decisions

"Strengthening police professionalism with decision support: bounded discretion in out-of-court disposals" Molly Slothower; Policing, Volume 8, Number 4, pp. 353–367

"Tracking Quality of Police Actions in a Victim Contact Program: A Case Study of Training, Tracking, and Feedback (TTF) in Evidence-Based Policing"; Molly Slothower, Lawrence W. Sherman, Peter Neyroud; International Criminal Justice Review 1-19

"Evidence-Based Triage in Prosecuting Arrestees: Testing an Actuarial System of Selective Targeting"; Peter Neyroud; International Criminal Justice Review; 1-15; 2015

Police 'Modernising the Gateway to the Criminal Justice System'; Peter Neyroud; Australasian Policing: A Journal of Professional Practice and Research; Vol. 6, No. 2 Summer 2014


Date last updated

Tuesday 09 February 2021
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