Police Investigation, Reprimands and Warninigs

The rules for police questioning, search and detention of young people are the same as for adults but young people have additional rights. Parents must be informed of the arrest and detention and interviews should only take place in the presence of an appropriate adult. The appropriate adult can be a parent, guardian, social worker or other responsible adult aged at least 18. The role of the appropriate adult is unclear but they should be able to advise and assist the juvenile and to ensure the interview is conducted fairly.

When it is a first offence the police have the discretion to issue a reprimand instead of proceeding with prosecution. For a second offence a warning may be used. A second warning may only be issued if the latest offence is not serious and more than two years have elapsed since the making of the first warning. Reprimands and warnings can only be given if the young person admits the offence, has no previous convictions and it is considered contrary to the public interest for the offender to be prosecuted. Reprimands and warnings are made at the police station in the presence of the appropriate adult. Following a warning the young person is referred to the Youth Offending Team for an assessment to decide whether a rehabilitation programme is appropriate. Reprimands and warnings do not form part of a person’s criminal record although they may be brought if there are court proceedings in the future.

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