skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 91121 Find in a Library
Title: Police Decisions for Dealing With Juvenile Offenders
Journal: British Journal of Criminology  Volume:23  Issue:3  Dated:(July 1983)  Pages:249-262
Author(s): J Mott
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 14
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: An analysis of juvenile offender handling in six English police departments revealed few differences in criteria governing the decision to caution or prosecute. Most first offenders of all ages and both sexes were cautioned, and virtually all recidivists were prosecuted.
Abstract: The sample population of 470 males and 128 female offenders between 10 and 17 years old for whom a decision was made on whether to caution or prosecute during October and November 1978 was drawn from the Metropolitan Police, Leicestershire, Sussex, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, and Staffordshire departments. The victim or the victim's agent reported one-half of the boys' offenses, and the police detected 23 percent. The most important reasons for prosecuting first offenders were the juvenile's denying the offense or the victim insisting on prosecution. Another common reason was seriousness of the offense, such as burglary or wounding. Police appeared to consider the amount of damage or loss and parents' willingness to offer compensation in making their decisions. Only 12 percent of the male recidivists and 14 percent of the girls were cautioned, usually because of social service departments' advice that other action was already being taken. The data suggested that social service agencies cannot provide information or advice in many cases because the juvenile is unknown to them. This study and others indicate that one-quarter to one-third of male juvenile first offenders and less than 10 percent of the female first offenders who are cautioned are likely to reoffend within 2 years. Thus, cautioning for first offenders appears as effective as lenient court disposals. These results also suggest that some variation in cautioning rates may be explained by the types of offenders and reoffending rates of the local juvenile population and public attitudes toward offending. Tables and 14 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Deterrence effectiveness; England; Police decisionmaking; Police diversion; Police juvenile relations; Police warning
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.