When a juvenile under the age of 18 has committed an offence, the juvenile may be prosecuted at the juvenile court or alternatively, by a Police Superintendent’s Caution.
A Police Officer of the rank of Superintendent or above can exercise its discretion to issue a caution to the juvenile offender, instead of taking him /her to the Juvenile Court. The intention is a warning to both the juvenile and the juvenile’s family.
The juvenile offender who receives a Police Superintendent’s Caution must be put under police's supervision for a period of two years or until he/she reaches the age of 18, whichever is earlier.
The police have the absolute discretion in deciding whether the case is suitable to be dealt with by a Police Superintendent’s Caution. The following factors must be considered:
At the time the caution is administered, the offender must be under 18 years of age. The Police Superintendent’s Caution is not a criminal conviction, however the police will have a record that such a caution was made. Therefore if a juvenile who has previously received a Police Superintendent’s Caution commits a further offence and is prosecuted, the court may take this into account when deciding upon sentencing.
The parents or guardian of the juvenile must be present when the Police Superintendent’s Caution is administered, as the support available from the parents is an important factor for the police in deciding whether to deal with the case by way of caution.
The Community Support Service Scheme (“CSSS”) of the Social Welfare Department is a service aimed at helping juvenile’s who have been dealt with by a Police Superintendent’s Caution to re-integrate them into mainstream education or workforce and reduce the likelihood of reoffending. These include individual and family counselling, therapeutic groups, skill training/educational groups, adventure activities as well as recreational and community services. Under the CSSS, the police will also visit the juveniles to reinforce the caution and maintain police contact with them.