The case for ‘Putting it Right’ Sessions

Nearly 3,000 cautions have been issued in five years to young offenders proving the need for the scheme that aims to prevent an escalation of criminal activity by young people

The figures, which cover the period from January 2012 to December 2016, show that 2,850 crimes committed by youngsters aged between ten and 17 were dealt with by way of a caution including 163 issued to children under the age of 13.

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The highest figures are for assault with injury (501) and shoplifting (464). It is the latter that forms the bulk of the Putting it Right sessions conducted by staff at the Brighton & Hove BCRP. Under the scheme, young people who have been caught for minor shoplifting offences are given an intensive, one-to-one session aimed at making them understand the consequences of their actions and then they spend time volunteering in a local charity shop to atone for their crime.

The caution figures have fallen over the last two years, to 532 in 2016, after peaking at 844 in 2014.

Detective Superintendent Jason Tingley said: “We take all offending behaviour by youths very seriously. Out of court disposals such as cautions aim to deal with offenders outside the court system in appropriate circumstances.

“The factors affecting the disposal and outcome of a particular case are determined by a range of variable facts and circumstances, influenced by legislation and national guidance.

“Cautions for the most serious offences are used in exceptional circumstances and the response to each case is dependent on a range of factors. It is also important to recognise that a caution is a legitimate criminal justice outcome, with real sanctions attached.”