Youth Justice


When someone commits a crime, it means they are doing something that is against the law (illegal).

If you are worried about crime       

If you are worried about crime because:

  • a crime has happened
  • someone involves you in a crime
  • someone does something illegal against you
  • if you don’t know if something is illegal

You can tell someone about it and get help:     You can ask someone for help

  • ask an adult that you trust for help (parent/carer/family)
  • ask a teacher or one of the youth workers at our youth hubs
  • call Young Hackney on 020 8356 7404 at these times – 9am to 5pm – and speak to someone

If you are arrested by police     If you are arrested by the police

If you are older than 10 years old and the police think you have done a crime, they can:

  • arrest you
  • ask you to come to a police station to talk about a crime incident
  • take you home to speak to you and your parents about the crime

After an arrest, you will be taken to a police station where they will ask you questions about what happened.

Police Station


  • you admit you did the crime and/or 
  • the police have evidence that you’ve committed a crime

Then the police have 2 things they can do:

  1. They can make you go to court     Court

A judge will decide if someone has committed a crime and pass a sentence or punishment.

Find out more about being charged.


  1. Offer you another way of dealing with the crime using another way or disposal

This means the police might decide:   

  • No Further Action (NFA) (nothing else happens, the police leave it)
  • Released Under Investigation (RUI) (you can go but the police are looking for more information on the crime)
  • Out of court disposal (you will get a triage, a youth caution or a youth conditional caution)   

Custody Flowchart

No further action (NFA)

No further action is when the police make a decision not to charge someone with a crime.

This may be because there is not enough evidence or it is not in the public interest.

Released under investigation (RUI)

If you are suspected of committing a crime you may be released under investigation instead of bail.  

This means you have been released from custody without being charged for the crime you were questioned about.  

Police complaints

You have a right to complain if you’re not happy with how you’ve been treated by the police. If you’ve got a problem or you’re unhappy about something that happened to you which involved the police, it can usually be sorted out by speaking to the police force. But if they can’t put things right for you, then you can make a complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), who set the rules that police forces must follow when handling complaints.

  • The IOPC has oversight of police complaints made to 43 police forces across England and Wales. This means they have access to data and can analyse it to look at trends, patterns and issues.
  • The IOPC are not the police – they make decisions independently of the police and government.
  • Police forces handle most complaints locally.
  • The IOPC investigate the most serious complaints, like those involving deaths, serious injuries or corruption.

Read the guide to police complaints for young people, watch the video below or visit the IOPC website.

Out of court disposals

Children between the age of 10 and 17 may be eligible for either a triage, youth caution or youth conditional caution.

When a child or young person  commits a crime, in some cases it may be most appropriate to divert them away from the criminal justice system entirely and work with the child, family and victim through more informal ways to address their needs and prevent further crime. There is no one method of working with children to divert them and we view the child as a unique individual.

After an arrest or voluntary interview by police, each case is reviewed and subject to a joint decision-making process between the Youth Offending Team Police Officers  and the Young Hackney Prevention & Diversion team.

This ensures that the most appropriate disposal and level of support is offered to a child in order to reduce the risk of committing further crimes in the future.

Out of court disposals can be used when a child has committed a less serious crime and they have admitted the crime. 

In this case, the police and the Young Hackney Prevention & Diversion team may consider an out of court disposal and decide not to send the child to court.

Out of court disposals range of options include:

Community resolution (Triage)

A Triage is an informal disposal and is usually offered when a crime is considered less serious, and if it is the first time a child has come to the attention of the police. 

Youth Caution

A Youth Caution is a formal disposal that might be offered as a diversion from court when a crime is considered more serious but it is not in the child or public’s interest to prosecute.

Youth Conditional Caution

A Youth Conditional Caution is a formal statutory disposal. This means there are ‘conditions’ attached to it that must be completed by the child. 

If a child does not keep to the conditions, they could be prosecuted and charged to court for the original crime.

Understanding decision making

What is reparation?  

Reparation is a practical way to pay back for the harm caused by the crime and to help a child understand the effect of the crime on the victims, either by directly repairing the harm caused or through constructive work to help the local community (indirect reparation).

The victim (the person who has been harmed) is usually consulted about what should be done.

Reparation can include:

Reparation to the victim

For example, a spoken or written apology, or a financial compensation or supervised activity-based reparation to the victim.

Community reparation

Includes a variety of activities to ‘pay back’ benefits to the community, including work similar to community service or ‘unpaid work’ activities.

Further information

View more information about the Youth Justice Service.

Restorative approach

Restorative Approaches can be used in many different ways, places and by different people across the world to resolve a situation and/or re-build relationships after an event or conflict and give people a sense of justice and resolution.