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Youth offending

Youth Justice and the Youth Offending Service: what happens if you get in trouble

This page provides advice and guidance on what happens when young people get into trouble with the Police. Whilst primarily aimed at young people, the information may also be useful for parents and professionals. See below for a guide to 'Stop and Search', a guide to what the Youth Offending Service does, and our contact details.

What is ‘Stop and Search’ and what are your rights?

As a young person growing up in Camden it is possible you may have been stopped and searched by the Police. Being stopped does not mean you are under arrest or have done anything wrong but it may be as part of a wider crackdown on crime in a specific area.

What is a stop?

A stop is when a police officer or police community support officer stops you in a public place and asks you to account for yourself and may ask you the following questions:

  • What you are doing?
  • Where have you been?
  • Where are you going?
  • What are you carrying?

What is a stop and search?

A stop and search is when a police officer stops and then searches you, your clothes and anything you are carrying.

Whether you have been subject to stop and search or not, it is important to know your rights.

The Liberty ‘Know your rights’ page on stop and search will give you useful guidance on your rights.  The Metropolitan Police website pages on stop and search also provide very clear guidance.  

What should you do if you are arrested?

If you are unfortunate enough to be arrested, it is important that you are clear on your rights. The UK Government website contains this very useful internet guide on your rights.

What does the Youth Offending Service do?

The Youth Offending Service is a multi-agency team set up as a result of the Crime and Disorder Act. In addition to Youth Offending Service workers, it includes representatives from the police, probation, education and  health. The YOS also works closely with Social Services and Community Safety.

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 role of the Youth Offending Service includes:

    • running local crime prevention programmes and offering voluntary support programmes
    • helping young people and their families at court
    • supervising young people serving a community sentence
    • staying in touch with a young person if they’re sentenced to custody

Where do you go for YOS appointments?

Unless you have been told otherwise, your YOS appointment will be at:

The Crowndale Centre,
218-220 Eversholt Street,
London, NW1 1BD

Upon arrival, please let reception know your name and the time of your appointment.

How often do you have to attend the YOS when on an order?

If you are on a court order you must attend the YOS to meet with your supervisor a specified number of times a week. The frequency of your appointments is calculated from the initial assessment and depends on the level of support required.

Your supervisor may ask you to attend more or less often during your order, depending on how well you progress. There will be a review every 6 months to check on your progress and talk about the plans and goals that you and your supervisor have agreed.

What happens if you cannot attend an appointment?

You must keep all of your YOS appointments. However, if you have a genuine reason for missing an appointment you must provide written proof. You should do this within 24 hours of the missed appointment. Where possible please talk to your supervisor first so you can rearrange the appointment.

Examples of a genuine reason to miss an appointment can include:

  • Illness - please bring a doctor’s note or medical certificate
  • Work or school or college commitment
  • Police station intervie
  • Court appearance
  • Religious commitment
  • Major personal event e.g. death of relative

Camden YOS is committed to working with you in order to achieve the best possible outcome for you. If there are any reasons which will make it difficult for you to attend sessions, such as unsuitable locations or appointment times, please tell your supervisor who will do their best to meet your needs.

What should you do when attending court?

When you go to court for the first time, you may not know what to expect. You may be worried about what can happen. It is important that you or your parents find a solicitor before your court appearance to help you understand what might happen. The solicitor will meet with you to give you legal advice and discuss your case. They will advise you on what to do and say.

Make sure your parents check to see if you are entitled to legal aid.

The day of the court appearance

For a morning court appearance, you should arrive at 9.30am for an afternoon appearance, you should arrive at 1.30pm.

Report to the court usher when you arrive, they will normally be holding a clipboard. They will ask your name and who is representing you. They will then tell you where to wait and in which court the case will be heard.

Can friends and relatives go with you? 

Only parents, carers and close relatives like grandparents may go into the courtroom. Friends will need to wait outside.

Who is in the courtroom?

Your case will be heard by either a district judge or at least two lay magistrates. Your solicitor, the prosecutor for the crown and the clerk to the court are also present. There will also be someone from the youth offending service and a court usher.

When you go into the courtroom

You will be shown to a seat and told to sit or stand. You will be asked your name and date of birth. You will be asked to enter a plea.  Your solicitor may ask you additional questions.

Do parents get asked anything?

Yes, the magistrate may want to know what parents have done to prevent their child from offending.

What happens to parents if their child gets into trouble?

If your child gets in trouble with the police, you can sometimes be held responsible. You could be asked to attend a parenting programme, asked to sign a parenting contract or given a parenting order by a court. For more information on parenting programmes visit gov.uk

When are convictions spent?

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 enables criminal convictions to become ‘spent’ or ignored after a ‘rehabilitation period’. After this period, with certain exceptions, an ex-offender is not normally obliged to mention their conviction when applying for a job, obtaining insurance or when involved in criminal or civil proceedings.

The Act is more likely to help people with few and/or minor convictions because further convictions usually extend rehabilitation periods. People with many convictions, especially serious convictions, may not benefit from the Act unless the convictions are very old.

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 introduced a new custodial sentence for young people with different rehabilitation periods. Page two of the Nacro guidance on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 provides a breakdown of the different rehabilitation periods.

For more information about youth justice in Camden see the Metropolitan Police website.

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