Police restorative warnings in Scotland
Guidelines for the Police
Role of Police
The police have a lead role in the restorative warning system in partnership with other agencies. The police lead on communicating with the Reporter in line with their statutory role. Where a young person and/or his or her parent/relevant person refuse consent for a police restorative warning or police restorative conference, the police will inform the Reporter. If the young person withdraws co-operation during the process the police will (in non-referral (Option 1) cases) halt the process and formally refer the case to the Reporter or (in Referral (Option 2) cases) inform the relevant Reporter. The police will liaise with the victim and, considering the needs of the victim, will determine what is the appropriate level of victim involvement in the restorative process.
Role of the Reporter
Under Option 1, where advice is sought, the Reporter will inform the police if he or she has any welfare or other concerns which would make it inappropriate for a Restorative Police Warning to be delivered. Under Option 2, the Reporter receives the referral and determines the appropriate disposal for the young person, which might include a restorative option.
Role of Young Person
The young person is required to accept responsibility for his/her actions and to agree to participate in the restorative warning process. As part of the warning the police will discuss with the young person the impact of his/her offence on her or himself, his/her family, victim, and the community.
The young person is not required to undertake any specific action by way of reparation although, he/she may offer to do so, for example to write a letter of apology to the victim. In such circumstances the police will arrange for the letter to be read in advance and delivered to the victim. The police will not undertake any other role in ensuring that voluntary acts of reparation that may be agreed between the young person and the victim are carried out (for example paying for repair of minor damage).
Role of Parents/Relevant Persons
The parent or other relevant person, is required to consent to the warning and to be present when it is being delivered.
The police will make enquiries with the victim (or where the victim is a child with his/her parents/relevant person) as to the impact of the offence on them (and if appropriate will pass this information to the young person receiving the warning), inform the victim if a warning is to be given, and explain the nature and status of the warning. After the warning has been given the police will inform the victim (if he/she wants) of the outcome. The consent of the victim will be sought before any letter of apology is written.
These guidelines were devised and written by Blake Stevenson Limited, in consultation with the Scottish Executive, the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) and the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration (SCRA). The work was overseen by the Scottish Executive Victims' Sub Group, which includes amongst its membership representatives of the Scottish Executive, ACPOS, SCRA, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, local authorities, and the voluntary sector, including victim groups.
The text of the guidelines has been agreed by the Scottish Executive, ACPOS and SCRA.
Thanks are extended to all those involved in the production of the guidelines.