The NSW Police Force has a strong commitment to building trust with young people while reducing crime, violence and fear of crime in the community. The NSW Police Force will continue to work towards diverting young people from the formal justice system and enhancing positive relationships between itself and the young people of NSW.

In NSW, criminal responsibility legally commences at the age of 10. Under criminal law, a 'child' is defined as a person less than 18 years of age. Various aspects of criminal justice are administered in NSW by different government agencies including the NSW Police Force, the Department of Attorney General and Justice and the Department of Juvenile Justice. These agencies work closely together to reduce re-offending among young people.

Police may divert eligible young offenders from court and detention through warnings, cautions or referral to a youth justice conference under the Young Offenders Act. The Act states that a formal caution or a Youth Justice Conference (YJC) can be prescribed for a young person if the young person has:

  • admitted the offence;
  • consented to a caution or YJC;
  • committed an offence for which a caution or YJC can be given;
  • and, is entitled to a caution or YJC.

The decision about entitlement is made with regards to the seriousness of the offence; the degree of violence; the harm caused to the victim; previous offence history, and any other matter the official thinks is appropriate.

Graffiti offences are not covered under the Young Offenders Act. Young offenders cannot be diverted from court if charged with a graffiti offence under the Graffiti Legislation Amendment Act 2012. Courts have the ability to use cautions and refer young offenders to youth justice conferences in these cases.

NSW Police Force has recently launched the NSW Police Force Youth Strategy 2013-2017 (PDF, 7.6MB). The following key principles underpin the Youth Strategy:

  • Building collaborative relationships
  • Early intervention and prevention
  • Promoting trust and respect
  • Providing the right person and the right response
  • Strategic timing and programming
  • Transparency and accountability
  • Understanding diversity and responding effectively.

Youth Liaison Officers

The NSW Police Force role in the youth justice system is a vital one. Youth Liaison Officers are the administrators of the Young Offenders Act for NSW Police. As part of their duties, they are responsible for delivering cautions and referring children and young people to youth justice conferences.

The Youth Liaison Officer role also involves implementing strategies to reduce juvenile crime including: crime prevention and safety talks at schools, juvenile crime reduction programs; and networking with other agencies. They are the primary point of contact between NSW Police and Juvenile Justice. There is a YLO at each of the 80 Local Area Commands across NSW

School Liaison Police

School Liaison Police are officers who work with high schools to reduce youth crime, violence and anti-social behaviour through a range of school intervention strategies, educational programs and local relationships which model respect and responsibility

SLPs are responsible for forging and maintaining links with all high schools throughout NSW. These officers develop and present programs in conjunction with teaching staff and act as a central point of contact on police, community and school issues. SLPs may provide information, support and guidance on security, intervention strategies and child protection matters relating to the school as well as other issues relating to safety and community responsibility.

Specialist Youth Officers

Specialist Youth Officers provide advice to police, young people and parents; make determinations for juvenile matters and verify juvenile charges in accordance with the Young Offenders Act.

School Safety and Response Unit

On a systematic operational level, The School Safety and Response Unit is responsible for the physical security of schools, including the security fencing program, the design and installation of security alarms and other security devices. The unit also coordinates the on-line monitoring of video surveillance systems and provides risk assessments and security advice to schools.

The School Safety and Response Unit is responsible for the management of serious school incidents involving violence, weapons, malicious damage and other property offences, illegal drugs or major criminal activity.

PCYC - Police Citizens Youth Clubs

Our Police work to prevent and reduce crime by and against young people.They case manage young offenders and work closely with youth at risk to get them heading in the right direction - away from crime. Many of our Police Officers have individual tailored programs for young people at their clubs- log onto your local club site to see how Police are working with youth in your area!