There is a new version of this page
View the latest version
1. Main facts and figures
in 2015/16, police issued cautions to young people on 18,048 occasions, and the ethnicity of the young person was recorded for 16,613 of them (92%)
White young people received cautions on 14,269 occasions, and Black young people received 1,545 cautions (86% and 9% respectively of all instances where ethnicity was recorded)
from 2005/06 to 2015/16, the total number of cautions given fell by 85% (from 122,300 to 18,048), but the relative percentage by ethnicity stayed broadly the same, with a slight decrease in White young people (from 90% to 86%) and a slight increase in Black young people (from 6% to 9%) over that period
The ethnic categories used in this data
Ethnicity is identified and recorded by the police officer giving the caution based on the appearance of the young person being cautioned, from the following 4 broad ethnic categories:
- Other ethnic groups (including Chinese)
2. Youth cautions by ethnicity over time
The figures are taken from the Police National Computer (PNC). The PNC holds details of all convictions and cautions given for ‘recordable offences’. A recordable offence is an offence that the law says must be recorded on the PNC. It includes some offences where it is not possible for offenders to be sentenced to prison or other custody, and it excludes motoring offences.
The PNC may be subject to some error arising from data entry and processing. The data for January to March 2016 is provisional and may change.
Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.
4. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Ministry of Justice
Purpose of data source
Youth justice data is used by the government to develop, monitor and evaluate criminal justice policy for young offenders. It reports on activity in the criminal justice system for England and Wales, giving information for the latest year and also longer-term trends.
5. Download the data
This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, and value