Enhanced Triage - Suffolk YOS

Age: 10-17
Sex: n/a
Cost: none




  • To reduce the number of First Time Entrants to The Youth Justice System - by diverting young people committing low level offences away from the criminal justice system at the earliest opportunity.
  • Reduction in re-offending rates – research evidences that addressing low level criminal behaviour without formally processing young people through the courts is more likely to reduce re-offending
  • Earlier and more effective engagement with victims and increased levels of victim satisfaction – by increasing the opportunities for victims to participate in safe restorative justice approaches and enabling them to move on from the feeling of victimisation
  • Cost avoidance of the diversionary element of the scheme, primarily through avoided costs to the police and court system




Suffolk Youth Offending Service (SYOS) in partnership with Suffolk Constabulary developed an initiative building on the existing youth diversion scheme. The ‘Enhanced Triage’ scheme enables early screening and assessment of young people and their families whilst also improving consistent and integrated decision making between the police and youth offending service.

The details of the delivery model can be found below, however in a nutshell all referrals are screened by Suffolk YOS for an initial decision to be made regarding the young person’s suitability for a Triage Level 1 intervention or whether further assessment is necessary. In cases where further assessments are appropriate the young person could be subjected to a Level 2 Triage intervention, a Youth Caution or a Youth Conditional Caution.

Suffolk YOS have also developed the restorative justice approach based on the latest evidence of ‘what works’ and as part of the scheme the seconded Police Officer engages with the victims as well as deliver some of the restorative justice interventions.


What makes it work:

  • Earlier and more comprehensive assessments influence the quality of decision making for out of court options
  • Direct referral route for police officers to SYOS, without requiring attendance at a police custody suite with young people and parents / carers.
  • Dedicated police officers and YOS staff as decision makers support a more effective and consistent integrated decision making process
  • The majority of families can be seen within 48 hours of the referral through a home visit which addresses barriers to engagement, for example; poor access to transport for those living in a rural community
  • Police Officers and SYOS staff strongly support the scheme and the principles for taking a diversionary approach. The seconded police officers are proactive in advising operational officers on ‘next steps’ in an investigation involving young people and police officers report that this invariably streamlines the process and enables greater efficiencies to be achieved.


Implementing the practice:

  • The model in Suffolk required an additional policing resource to be seconded to the YOS. Some of this is offset by the efficiencies achieved for operational officers and taking on specific duties from custody / operational staff. In Suffolk the number of seconded police officers increased from 3 x FTE to 6 x FTE across three operational teams.
  • It requires a good working relationship between the police and the YOT both at strategic and operational levels.
    Suffolk YOS completed a staff consultation to change staff terms and conditions enabling weekend and evening working



YOT: Suffolk Youth Offending Service
Name: Belinda Clabburn
Email: Belinda.clabburn@suffolk.gov.uk