More than a third of Hawke's Bay's offenders are being dealt with outside of the courts, police figures show.
The Statistics New Zealand figures show 64 per cent of Hawke's Bay offenders were dealt with through court action in the year to July 31.
A further 35.8 per cent were dealt with through non-court action and the remainder of cases weren't proceeded with.
The figures show just 15.1 per cent of those committing public order offences were dealt with by the courts as well as 40.3 per cent of those responsible for abduction, harassment and other related offences and 47.7 of those committing offences related to theft.
Police say fewer of those types of offences have been dealt with through courts since the introduction of pre-charge warnings, which are formal warnings for comparatively minor offences.
Sensible Sentencing Trust founder Garth McVicar said the figures were alarming but not surprising.
He believed there had been a concentrated effort to meet the Government's stated objective to reduce recorded crime. If a case had not gone through court it would not appear in the recorded crime statistics so the Government would meets its objectives.
However, communities were still riddled with crime, Mr McVicar said.
"It seems all the 'alternative' measures such as pre-charge warnings are designed to meet that target rather than make communities safer."
Mr McVicar said that was sad considering the Government was elected on a promise to get tough on crime.
"I am sure simply juggling the figures does not meet what the public want or expect from their elected MPs."
Nationally, 62.1 per cent of offenders ended up before the courts in the year to July 31. Figures showed 37.1 per cent of offenders were dealt with through non-court action and the remaining cases weren't proceeded with.
Just 12.4 of those committing public order offences and 33.3 per cent of those committing abduction, harassment and related offences were dealt with in court.
A police spokesman said fewer offenders were now being dealt with through the courts for public disorder, harassment and theft due to the introduction of the pre-charge warning scheme in 2010.
A pre-charge warning was a formal warning given after arrest for a comparatively minor offence. It was one way of reducing the use of court processes for low-level offending, while ensuring crime was still addressed and victims were supported, said police.
The warnings differed from traditional, more informal warnings given in the field, where the offender was not arrested.
A pre-charge warning was issued in writing at the police station after a person had been arrested for a qualifying offence.
To be given a pre-charge warning, offenders needed to be 17 years of age or over and to have committed a low level or minor offences with a maximum penalty of six months' imprisonment.
Those committing family violence and methamphetamine offences were ineligible for a pre-charge warning, said police.
Police considered a number of factors in dealing with offenders through non-court action including behaviour and attitudes displayed, type of offence, severity of offence, availability of alternative options, wishes of victim, evidential threshold and offender history.
The police figures record unique offenders - individual offenders counted once in the year regardless of how many times they have been dealt with by police.
Offenders are recorded under their most serious offence.