Last updated 5 March 2021 - see all updates
1. Main facts and figures
- in the year ending March 2019, 8,552 police cautions were given to children (aged 10 to 17 years old), and the child’s ethnicity was recorded for 85% of them
- 83.1% of youth cautions were given to White children (out of all cautions where the child’s ethnicity was recorded
- 11.0% of youth cautions were given to Black children
- in the 11 years to March 2019, the total number of youth cautions went down by 91% (from 93,656 to 8,552), and there was a decrease in every ethnic group
- the percentage of cautions given to White children went down from 88.0% to 83.1%, while the percentage given to Black children increased from 6.6% to 11.0%
2. Things you need to know
What the data measures
The data measures the number of times that children aged 10 to 17 were given a police caution for a ‘recordable offence’ – one that has to be recorded on the police national computer.
The data treats police reprimands and final warnings as cautions. These were replaced by youth cautions in April 2012.
Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.
The ethnic groups used in the data
Data is shown for the following 4 ethnic groups:
- Other (including people from Mixed, Chinese and other ethnic backgrounds)
Ethnicity is identified and recorded by the police officer giving the caution, based on appearance.
Ethnicity was recorded in 85% of cautions in the year ending March 2019.
Read the detailed methodology document for the data on this page.
If a child is cautioned for 2 or more offences at the same time, the data for the most serious offence is shown here.
3. By ethnicity over time
|Asian||Black||White||Other including Mixed||Unknown|
|Time||Asian %||Asian Number||Black %||Black Number||White %||White Number||Other inc Mixed %||Other inc Mixed Number||Unknown %||Unknown Number|
Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)
Summary of Youth cautions By ethnicity over time Summary
These percentages exclude children whose ethnicity was not recorded.
The data shows that:
- in the year ending March 2019, White children were given 6,065 cautions (83.1% of youth cautions)
- 800 cautions were given to Black children (11.0%)
- in the 11 years to March 2019, the total number of youth cautions fell by 91%, from 93,656 to 8,552
- there was a decrease in the number of youth cautions in every ethnic group
- the percentage of cautions given to White children went down from 88.0% to 83.1%
- the percentage given to Black children went up from 6.6% to 11.0%
- for comparison, 81.7% of all children aged 10 to 17 years in England and Wales were White, and 4.4% were Black at the time of the 2011 Census
4. Data sources
Youth justice statistics: 2018 to 2019
Type of data
Type of statistic
Ministry of Justice
Purpose of data source
The data is used by the government to develop, monitor and evaluate criminal justice policy for young offenders in England and Wales.
5. Download the data
This file contains the following: measure, ethnicity, year, geography, value, number