Reprimands and final warnings have been removed as disposals for young people committing crimes and have been replaced with the following options:
No Further Action (NFA), Community Resolution (including Youth Restorative Disposal - YRD), Youth Caution, Youth Conditional Caution or Charge.
This now allows for a greater involvement from the Youth Offending Team and victims of offences in the police decision making process meaning any of the above disposals can be used at any time in a young person’s offending career, with appropriate consultation with the Youth Offending Team.
For all pre–court and out-of-court disposals, the young person has to admit that they have committed the offence. The police may issue a YRD or Youth Caution for the first offence committed by a young person, but for a second and subsequent offences, there has to be a consultation with the YOT before a pre–court or out-of-court disposal is offered to the young person.
No Further Action (NFA)
No Further Action to be taken against the young person for this particular offence.
A Community Resolution (which also encompasses a Youth Restorative Disposal) is used in response to an instance of low level offending. It empowers a police officer to apply their professional judgement in deciding whether a Community resolution is ‘the right thing to do' after considering the offence, the victim’s view and the offender.'
A Youth Caution is a formal alternative to a young person attending Court and can be given when there is sufficient evidence to charge a young person with an offence and the young person admits responsibility for committing that offence, the Police consider that it is not in the Public Interest to charge to Court and there is no necessity to impose a Youth Conditional Caution.
Youth Conditional Caution (YCC)
A Youth Conditional Caution is available where there is an admission of guilt and the young person consents to the Caution. The YCC can have conditions attached to it that may include provisions to support rehabilitation, effect reparation or punishment and can include a fine or compensation to the victim and/or an attendance requirement, (which may include the completion of up to 20 hours in a specified activity). Any attached conditions must be capable of being completed within a period of 16 weeks from the date the offence was committed. There is no penalty attached to a YCC for non - compliance with the agreed conditions but this may result in the young person being referred to Court for the original offence.
Youth Restorative Disposal (YRD)
The Youth Restorative Disposal (YRD) is a new option for Police which holds 10 to 17 year olds to account for minor crime and disorder through the use of restorative justice.
Restorative justice principles allow the victim to take an active role in the way an offender is dealt with and helps them understand how they became a victim of crime.
YRDs are only an option for low-level incidents, where guilt is admitted and there is a practical option for an apology or for the young person to put right the harm or loss they have caused. It aims to strike the right balance between addressing the offence and providing support for young people in encouraging them to not commit further crimes or anti-social behaviour. Parental involvement in the process is also encouraged.
If the young person commits another offence, they may be sent to court. Magistrates and Judges then have a number of orders they can use:
A young person's guilt is either admitted or established but the offence isn't serious enough to warrant sentencing.
No immediate punishment but if the young person commits another offence in a specified time they can be brought back to court for both the new and the original offences.
The size of the fine is reflected by the seriousness of the offence and the young person's financial circumstances. For a young person under sixteen years of age, the responsibility for paying the fine rests with their parents/carers.
A young person is given this order if it is their first time before the court and they plead guilty to the offence. The young person upon receiving this order has to attend a Referral Panel which is composed of two volunteers from the community and a panel advisor from the Youth Offending Service. The panel along with the young person, their parents/carers and the victim of the offence (where appropriate) agree a behaviour contract and support lasting between three and twelve months.
Youth Rehabilitation Order (YRO)
This is a general community sentence for young people who offend. They differ depending on the young person and their offence, but all ask certain things of the young person over time and offer support to achieve goals. The YRO can be in force for anything up to three years dependant on the needs of the young person and the seriousness of the offence committed.
This helps offenders take responsibility for their behaviour and to understand the consequences of their actions. The young person must repair the harm caused by their offence, either directly to the victim indirectly to the community.
Sentences to custody
There are two types of sentences to custody. They are:
Detention and Training Order
This is a custodial sentence for young people between 12 and 17 years old ranging from four months and two years. The first half of this sentence is spent in custody and the second half of the sentence will be in the community under the supervision of the Youth Offending Service.
This sentence can only be given out by the Crown Court in response to an offence committed by a young person, which, if committed by an adult, would receive a sentence of fourteen or more years. A minimum custodial period will be set by the sentencing court.