Youth offending

How the Youth Justice System works

Pre-crime prevention aims to identify those young people who are at risk of offending and to try to prevent them from entering the youth justice system. When a young person first gets into trouble by behaving in an anti-social way or committing a minor offence, the police and local authority can use a number of tools including the Triage Scheme, Police Reprimand, Acceptable Behaviour Contracts, and Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, all of which aim to support the child or young person and prevent them from re-offending.

If they are charged with a first or second offence, the police will give them a Reprimand or Final Warning which are orders intended to prevent the young person from entering the youth justice system too early and would give Westminster YOT the opportunity to offer the support and help needed to stop the young person from re-offending.

Once the child or young person is charged by the police after committing further offences or charged with committing a more serious offence, Westminster YOT's role is to ensure that the underlying causes for the Offending Behaviour are addressed

After being charged, the young person would appear in a Youth Court and the Court would decide whether to hear the case immediately or if it needs to bail or remand the young person into custody.

If a young person is bailed or remanded in custody, the court may choose to remand them in a number of ways on conditional bail, unconditional bail, to local authority accommodation or to custody (secure remand). Westminster Youth Offending Team's involvement would then be to ensure that the correct option is employed with respect to: the young person's circumstances, the seriousness of the offence, risk to the public and the availability and appropriateness of proposed accommodation.

If a young person pleads not guilty, a date is set for the trial at which the magistrates will hear all the evidence and decide if the young person is guilty. If the offence is very serious, the Youth Court will send the case to the Crown Court for trial and/or sentence. If the magistrates were to decide the young person is guilty, they will then decide upon an appropriate sentence.

If a young person pleads guilty or are convicted of the charge, they are then sentenced. Sentences can be to the community or to custody; if to the community, Westminster YOT would be involved in supervising the work which the young person has been ordered to do and if to custody, Westminster YOT would be involved in Prison Visits and post custody licence supervision. Once the sentence has been completed, Westminster YOT would be involved in helping the young person resume their education and are committed to helping that young person avoid re-offending.

The Youth Offending Team is a multi-agency partnership set up under the direction of the Crime and Disorder Act. The team includes representatives from social services, police, probation, education and health. The aim of the team is to work with young people and families to address factors that lead to offending behaviour (age 10 - 17).

The multi-disciplinary team assesses young people referred to them and will either work directly with them or link them to services for educational needs, problems with drugs/alcohol or mental health.

Contact details

6a Crompton Street, W2 1ND
Telephone: 020 7641 5307

Young people and gangs

The council's Your Choice programme aims to tackle the problem of gangs and youth violence by working with young people and their families to encourage them to make the right choices - or face the consequences.  Find out more about young people and gangs.


Last updated: 26 January 2015
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