Speaking at the annual Youth Justice Board (YJB) convention in Southport, Lawson, a member of Acpo's children and young people business area, said: "Acpo is divided with a third in favour, a third on the fence and a third against it."

"It comes down to the fact that individual chief constables decide what they will put into force."

Lawson noted that some chief constables are "great proponents" of restorative justice and have the ability to get an entire police force enthusiastic about its use, but others are not.

However, the existing system of recording results can impact on the willingness to use restorative justice since it does not count as a "detection".

"The issue is getting the message out to the wider public and police forces that restorative justice does produce results," he added.