The British Transport Police (BTP) have introduced a new national policy for dealing with young people. As of 2015 they will now refer all young people to their local Youth Offending Teams (YOT) for consideration of Out of Court Disposals (OOCDs) including community resolutions, youth restorative interventions, restorative justice and triage.
The BTP sent a letter to all YOTs on 27th February 2015 outlining the changes which will see all young people being referred to their local YOTs before a decision is reached on how to deal with them.
The rationale behind these changes was to ensure a more consistent approach to how young people are dealt with by BTP.
The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment Offenders Act 2012 placed a legal requirement on the police to refer all second (or subsequent) cautions or conditional cautions to YOTs. Until now, however, BTP policy was that outside of these examples, there was no mandatory requirement for YOT engagement, and it was the officers’ discretion to determine the most appropriate outcome. They were instructed to use the ACPO Gravity Matrix (Youth) as well as all OOCD Guidance issued by the Ministry of Justice to come to an appropriate decision. BTP had no youth OOCD policy.
It is hoped these changes will lead to a more consistent approach and comparable outcomes to matters dealt with by local police forces. It is also hoped it will lead to more young people being diverted away from the court system.
Read the letter here.