Youth conditional caution
The Youth Conditional Caution is a statutory out-of-court disposal, but with compulsory assessment and intervention attached to it.
A Youth Conditional Caution may be offered when:
- a young person admits an offence
- there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction
- the public interest can best be served by the young person complying with suitable conditions rather than a prosecution.
Police officers must have the authority of the Crown Prosecution Service to use a youth conditional caution as an out-of-court disposal for an 'indictable only offence'.
The Code of Practice for Youth Conditional Cautions gives more detail on their use.
The youth offending team (YOT) must assess the young person and advise on appropriate conditions. The young person must also agree to accept the Youth Conditional Caution and the conditions attached.
Police should not agree conditions which are to be delivered by the YOT without the YOT’s prior agreement.
The conditions attached to the Youth Conditional Caution can be reparative, rehabilitative or punitive in nature. Punitive conditions should only be used where rehabilitative and reparative conditions are not suitable or sufficient to address the offending.
The YOT is responsible for monitoring compliance with conditions and advising on non-compliance.
When the Youth Conditional Caution is being decided upon, the decision-maker should consider the mechanism by which compliance with the conditions will be monitored and demonstrated. This could include agreement with the police to monitor a curfew, or with HM Courts and Tribunals Service to collect a financial penalty. This should be set out in the Youth Conditional Caution form that is agreed to by the young person, the YOT and the police.
The victim's consent must be obtained in any case where direct reparation or restorative justice processes are being considered or where the victim is directly involved in some way.
Restorative justice processes and initiatives may be used to help inform the decision as to the conditions to be attached to a Youth Conditional Caution.
Failure to comply with the conditions can result in prosecution for the original offence.