Youth cautions

The main facts and figures show that:

  • in 2016/17, police issued cautions to young people on 13,533 occasions, and the ethnicity of the young person who was cautioned was recorded for 12,132 of them (90%)
  • White young people received cautions on 10,148 occasions, which is 84% of all instances where ethnicity was recorded
  • police gave youth cautions on 1,310 occasions to Black young people, which is 11% of all instances where ethnicity was recorded
  • from 2005/06 to 2016/17, the total number of cautions given fell by 89% (from 122,282 to 13,533) – the percentage of cautions that were given to White young people decreased (from 90% to 84%), while the percentage that were given to Black young people increased from 6% to 11%)
Things you need to know

Before 8 April 2013, police gave reprimands and final warnings to young people aged 10 to 17, but they were replaced with youth cautions and youth conditional cautions. In this data, reprimands, final warnings and youth conditional cautions are all treated as though they were youth cautions.

If a young person 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 for occasions include young people whose ethnicity is not recorded in the PNC. However, in every time period reported in this data, ethnicity has been recorded for at least 90% of cautions.

Ethnicity is identified and recorded by the police officer giving the caution, based on appearance, and is not self-defined by the young person. Ethnicity has been consistently recorded in 4 broad categories: White, Black, Asian and Other (including Chinese).

What the data measures

This data measures the number of occasions where a youth caution was 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, based on appearance.

The ethnic categories used in this data

The analysis used the following 4 broad ethnic categories:

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

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Youth cautions by ethnicity over time

Number and percentage of youth cautions that were given to young people from each ethnic group, over time

Asian Black White Other inc Mixed Unknown
Time % Value % Value % Value % Value % Value
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 4.2 653 9.5 1,470 85.7 13,304 0.6 92 *N/A 1,323
2016/17 4.8 581 10.8 1,310 83.6 10,148 0.8 93 *N/A 1,401

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2016/17, police gave cautions to White young people on 10,148 occasions, which is 84% of all youth cautions where ethnicity was recorded
  • in the same period, police gave cautions to Black young people on 1,310 occasions, which is 11% of all youth cautions where ethnicity was recorded
  • from 2005/06 to 2016/17, the total number of youth cautions given fell by 89%, from 122,282 to 13,533
  • in the same period, the percentage of youth cautions given to White young people decreased from 90% to 84%, and the percentage given to Black young people increased from 6% to 11%
  • in the same period, the percentage of youth cautions given to young people from Asian and Other ethnicities stayed fairly constant

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 2017 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, with no statistical methods like weighting applied. As with all large administrative data sources, some inaccuracy may exist.

Rounding

Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.

Related publications

Youth Justice since 2008/09

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

Figures shown here are derived from administrative data used for internal management information.

Download the data

Number_of_youth_cautions - Spreadsheet (csv) 6 KB

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