Youth justice – prevention and diversion (out of court disposals)


When someone commits a crime, it means they are doing something that is against the law (illegal).

  • If you are worried about crime because:

    • a crime has happened
    • someone involves you in a crime
    • someone does something illegal against you
    • if you don’t know if something is illegal
    • ask an adult that you trust for help (parent/carer/family)
    • ask a teacher or one of the youth workers at our youth hubs
    • call Young Hackney on 020 8356 7404 at these times – 9am to 5pm – and speak to someone
  • If you are older than 10 years old and the police think you have done a crime, they can:

    • arrest you
    • ask you to come to a police station to talk about a crime incident
    • take you home to speak to you and your parents about the crime

    After an arrest, you will be taken to a police station where they will ask you questions about what happened.

    Custody flow chart.

  • Then the police have 2 things they can do:

    1. They can make you go to court

    A judge will decide if someone has committed a crime and pass a sentence or punishment.

    Find out more about being charged.


    2. Offer you another way of dealing with the crime using another way or disposal

    This means the police might decide:

    • no further action (nothing else happens, the police leave it)
    • released under investigation (you can go but the police are looking for more information on the crime)
    • out of court disposal (you will get triage, a youth caution or a youth conditional caution)

No further action (NFA)

No further action is when the police make a decision not to charge someone with a crime.

This may be because there is not enough evidence or it is not in the public interest.

Released under investigation (RUI)

If you are suspected of committing a crime you may be released under investigation instead of bail.

This means you have been released from custody without being charged for the crime you were questioned about.

Out of court disposals

Children between the age of 10 and 17 may be eligible for a triage, youth caution or youth conditional caution.

When a child commits a crime, in some cases it may be most appropriate to divert them away from the criminal justice system entirely and work with the child, family and victim through more informal ways to address their needs and prevent further crime. There is no one method of working with children to divert them and we view each child as a unique individual.

After an arrest or voluntary interview by police, each case is reviewed and subject to a joint decision-making process between the youth offending team police officers and Young Hackney prevention and diversion team.

This ensures that the most appropriate disposal and level of support is offered to a child to reduce the risk of committing further crimes in the future.

Out of court disposals can be used when a child has committed a less serious crime and they have admitted the crime.

In this case, the police and the Young Hackney prevention and diversion team may consider an out of court disposal and decide not to send the child to court.

Out of court disposals range of options include:

Understanding decision making.

What is reparation?

Reparation is a practical way to make amends for the harm caused by the crime and to help a child understand the effect of the crime on the victims, either by directly repairing the harm caused or through constructive work to help the local community (indirect reparation).

The victim (the person who has been harmed) is usually consulted about what should be done.

Reparation can include:

Page updated on: 28 April 2021

Hackney Youth Offending Team


275 Mare Street
E8 1GR


Opening times

  • Mon to Fri: 9am-5pm (except bank holidays)