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Youth Offending

Reprimands & Final Warnings

  • These two new pre-court decisions replace the old formal warning and caution.
  • Unlike the old warnings and cautions there are no repeat reprimands or final warnings.

What Is a 'reprimand'?

  • A reprimand is given by a senior police officer if you have been arrested for an offence. There must be sufficient evidence for a prosecution.
  • A record of your reprimand is kept by the police until your 18th birthday and will be mentioned in any future court proceedings (see the bottom of this page for more details on record retention).

What is a 'final warning'?

  • A final warning will be given if the police decide they will not take your offence to court on this occasion. There must be sufficient evidence for a prosecution.
  • The final warning will be given by a senior police officer and afterwards the youth offending team will assess the likelihood of you offending again and may offer a programme to prevent you reoffending. The work will focus on any particular problems you may have and will always take into account the effects on any victims of your crime.

Why might I be given a final warning instead of being taken to court or reprimanded?

  • You might be offered a final warning before being taken to court if your offence is not serious enough to need prosecution.
  • If you offend again within two years you will be taken to court and your punishment will reflect the seriousness of your offences.

Do I have to accept a final warning?

  • Final warnings are only for people who accept they have committed the offence they have been charged with. If you don't accept that you committed the offence you should seek legal advice.
  • If you accept a final warning and are offered a programme by the youth offending team which you then fail to comply with, you should expect the court to be notified of this failure if you commit a further offence and are prosecuted.

Will I have a police record if I accept a final warning?

  • A record of your final warning will be kept by the police and the youth offending team until you are 18 years old, or for two years after it is given whichever is the longer. This will help them decide any further action if you offend again.
  • A reprimand or final warning is not a conviction and does not constitute a criminal record. At present, reprimand and final warnings remain on the Police National Computer in line with current retention guidelines. These will remain on the system until the subject reaches 100 years of age.

Police decision process

Police Decision Process