Youth cautions

Published

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%

Things you need to know

Police reprimands and final warnings for 10 to 17 year olds were replaced by youth cautions and youth conditional cautions in April 2012.

In this data, reprimands, final warnings and youth conditional cautions are all treated as though they were youth cautions.

If a child is cautioned for 2 or more offences at the same time, the police officer will record all offences in the Police National Computer (PNC). The data for the most serious offence is shown here.

The total figures include children whose ethnicity was not recorded in the PNC.

Ethnicity was recorded for at least 90% of cautions in every time period reported in this data except the most recent years (the year ending March 2018 and the year ending March 2019).

Ethnicity is identified and recorded by the police officer giving the caution, based on appearance, and is not self-defined by the child.

What the data measures

This data measures the number of occasions in which a child aged 10 to 17 years old was given a youth caution.

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 is legally required to be recorded on the PNC. This includes some offences which do not need a prison sentence or other custody. It does not include motoring offences.

Population figures for children aged 10 to 17 years in England and Wales are included for context. They are based on the 2011 Census.

You can read more about the different age profiles of ethnic groups in England and Wales.

The ethnic categories used in this data

The analysis used the following 4 ethnic categories:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • White
  • Other (which includes Mixed, Chinese and other ethnic groups)

2. By ethnicity over time

Number and percentage of youth cautions that were given to children from each ethnic group, over time
Asian Black White Other inc Mixed Unknown
Time Asian % Asian Number Black % Black Number White % White Number Other inc Mixed % Other inc Mixed Number Unknown % Unknown Number
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 4.2 653 9.5 1,470 85.7 13,304 0.6 92 N/A* 1,323
2016/17 4.8 585 10.8 1,317 83.6 10,206 0.8 97 N/A* 1,374
2017/18 4.9 477 11.4 1,108 82.9 8,090 0.9 87 N/A* 1,289
2018/19 5.2 381 11.0 800 83.1 6,065 0.8 55 N/A* 1,251

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

3. Methodology

The figures are taken from the Police National Computer (PNC).

The PNC may be subject to some error arising from data entry and processing. The data for January to March 2019 is provisional and may change. Figures may vary from those previously published, due to minor changes in classifications and other data revisions.

Administrative data sources are reported exactly as they’re recorded. No weighting is applied. As with all large administrative data sources, some inaccuracies may exist.

Rounding

Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.

Related publications

Youth Justice since 2008/09

Quality and methodology information

4. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Ministry of Justice

Publication frequency

Yearly

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

Youth Cautions - Spreadsheet (csv) 7 KB

This file contains the following: measure, ethnicity, year, geography, value, number