Youth cautions

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The main facts and figures show that:

  • 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

Things you need to know

From 8 April 2013, reprimands and final warnings were replaced with youth cautions and youth conditional cautions. This data treats reprimands, final warnings and youth conditional cautions as if they were youth cautions.

If a young person is cautioned for 2 or more offences at the same time, the data includes the most serious offence.

The total figures for occasions include young people whose ethnicity is not recorded in the Police National Computer. However, in every time period reported in this data, ethnicity has been recorded for at least 92% of cautions.

Ethnicity is identified and recorded by the police officer giving the caution, based on appearance.

What the data measures

This data measures the number of occasions when youth cautions were given to young people aged 10 to 17 years.

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.

Ethnicity is identified and recorded by the police officer giving the caution.

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:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • White
  • Other ethnic groups (including Chinese)

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Youth cautions by ethnicity over time

Percentage and number of youth cautions by ethnicity over time

Asian Black White Other Unknown
Year % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number
2005/06 3.6 4,216 5.9 6,820 89.7 104,147 0.8 927 *N/A 6,172
2006/07 3.7 4,578 6.1 7,569 89.1 109,818 1.0 1,284 *N/A 8,411
2007/08 3.8 4,314 6.3 7,081 88.9 100,552 1.0 1,154 *N/A 7,157
2008/09 4.3 3,775 6.6 5,867 88.0 78,124 1.2 1,040 *N/A 4,850
2009/10 4.2 2,812 6.7 4,484 87.8 58,689 1.3 839 *N/A 3,910
2010/11 4.1 1,977 7.1 3,429 87.6 42,484 1.2 593 *N/A 2,131
2011/12 4.0 1,649 7.2 2,940 88.0 36,061 0.8 315 *N/A 1,248
2012/13 3.8 1,157 7.2 2,179 88.2 26,626 0.8 233 *N/A 1,056
2013/14 3.8 998 7.4 1,930 88.0 22,872 0.7 190 *N/A 1,025
2014/15 4.2 866 8.8 1,809 86.3 17,719 0.7 137 *N/A 1,210
2015/16 4.2 706 9.3 1,545 85.9 14,269 0.6 93 *N/A 1,435

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2015/16, police gave youth cautions to White young people on 14,269 occasions (86% of all youth cautions where ethnicity was recorded)

  • in 2015/16, police gave youth cautions to Black young people on 1,545 occasions (over 9% of all youth cautions where ethnicity was recorded)

  • from 2005/06 to 2015/16, the total number of cautions issued fell by 85% (from 122,282 to 18,048)

  • over the same period, the percentage of cautions by ethnicity stayed broadly the same, with a slight decrease in White young people (from 90% in 2005/06 to 86% in 2015/16) and a slight increase in Black young people (from 6% to 9%) receiving cautions

Methodology

Methodology

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.

Rounding

Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.

Quality and methodology information

Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Ministry of Justice

Publication frequency

Yearly

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.

Download the data

Number_of_youth_cautions - Spreadsheet (csv) 6 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, and value