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16.5 Final Warning / Caution


Final warning caution to be delivered within 30 working days.


  1. Introduction
  2. Assessment and Planning
  3. Role of the Police Officer

1. Introduction

1.1 Final warnings and cautions provide for a progressive approach to youth offending: providing the offence is relatively minor and the young person makes a full admission, he or she might expect to receive a caution on the first occasion that he or she comes to the attention of the police; a second offence may lead to final warning; any further offences, even if they are minor, other than in exceptional circumstances, may lead to prosecution.

The police will caution a young person if there is sufficient evidence of involvement of the offence and:

  • He or she makes a full and reliable admission;
  • The offence is not at a level of seriousness that requires a final warning or prosecution.

The police may give a young person a final warning if there is sufficient evidence of involvement in the offence and:

  • He or she makes a full and reliable admission;
  • The offence is not at a level of seriousness that prosecution is mandatory;
  • He or she has no previous final warnings (other than in exceptional circumstances) - unless two years have elapsed and the police consider that the offence is not sufficiently serious to require prosecution.
1.4 The final warning is regarded as a last chance to avoid prosecution and a young person is precluded from receiving a second such disposal. A final warning constitutes a record of offending that can be cited in any future proceedings.

2. Assessment and Planning

Caption: section 2
2.1 The young person must be referred by the police to the Youth Justice Team who will undertake a voluntary assessment of the influences that have an impact on the offending behaviour of the young person. The young person will be offered an appropriate programme of intervention unless the assessment indicates that it would be unnecessary. The plan will be offered alongside referrals to other agencies and programmes where appropriate. The YJT will wherever possible consult with victims with a view to making final warning interventions as restorative as possible.

The intervention programmes will vary in length and intensity according to the assessed risks and needs of the child or young person but will consist of at least one post-assessment intervention contact. Interventions should contain the following, as appropriate:

  • A restorative approach where the victim wants to become involved or reparation to the community where this is appropriate;
  • A one-off session if the likelihood of re-offending is low;
  • A brief programme of activity to address the assessed needs.
2.3 The intervention programme should be aligned with any relevant partner agency plans and interventions, such as looked-after children care plans, and, where appropriate, children and young people should be supported in accessing universal and specialist services.
2.4 Cooperation with a final warning programme is voluntary in the sense that there is no immediate sanction for non-compliance. Failure to comply with a final warning intervention will however be cited in court in the event of further offending by the young person.

3. Role of the Police Officer

Caption: section 3 table
3.1 The Final Warning must be delivered by a police officer who has been given appropriate training. All Cautions and Warnings should be given orally and in writing, in a restorative style with victim involvement wherever possible, and supplemented with written information clearly explaining their consequences. The use of leaflets is helpful in conveying this information.

The officer giving the Warning should specify the offence that has led to it and make it clear that:

  • The Warning is a serious matter;
  • Any further offending will result in prosecution in all but the most exceptional circumstances;
  • The police will keep a record of the Warning and details of it may be disclosed by the police in certain circumstances;
  • The Youth Justice Team will follow up the Final Warning: they will assess the child or young person and may devise an intervention programme to tackle offending behaviour, prevent offending and repair the harm done (may include reparation to victims or reparation to communities as appropriate).
3.3 Children and young people who are cautioned are not normally supported by an intervention programme. However, in certain cases and in line with NARRATES CwAN arrangements, the police and/or the YJT may make voluntary referrals to prevention services or other appropriate support programmes. See Children's Services Threshold Criteria for Children with Complex Needs (Children in Need) Procedure for more information, and the Isle of Man Safeguarding Board Procedures, Referrals Procedure if you think the young person is at risk of Significant Harm.