COPFS should guard against "net-widening" by dealing with jointly reported offenders who do not fall within the Lord Advocate's Guidelines and those who have not yet turned 16 where the presumption is that they should be dealt with by the Reporter.
COPFS should prioritise consideration of the review that offenders aged 16/17 subject to a CSO are presumed to be dealt with by the prosecutor.
COPFS should liaise with Police Scotland to standardise the provision of information on any known vulnerabilities or individual and/or family circumstances that may have a bearing on the appropriate prosecutorial action. The report should specify if there are none identified or whether the offender refused to divulge such information.
COPFS should ensure that there is a written record of discussion with the Reporter, in all jointly reported cases, including the factors taken into account in determining who should deal with the young person.
COPFS should facilitate the maximum use of diversion (or a lesser form of alternative action) for all young people under 18 years. Where there are compelling reasons in the public interest to prosecute they should be clearly recorded by prosecutors.
COPFS should improve the timeline of cases involving young people where diversion is offered.
COPFS should introduce a national streamlined process for communicating with social work departments and offenders to support the effective operation of diversion.
COPFS should review and simplify all correspondence issued to young people being offered diversion.
COPFS should tailor communication to the individual needs and vulnerabilities of young offenders taking account of, any known, equality issues.
COPFS should, on completion of diversion, confirm in writing what action, if any, is to be taken.
COPFS should clarify whether the applicable age requiring CCI, prior to any proceedings being commenced for children aged 13, 14 or 15 years, is the age of the child at the date of the offence, when the police report is submitted or when there is a decision to prosecute.
COPFS should explore the possibility of expanding the scope of the Driver Improvement Scheme and/or the feasibility of introducing a new road safety programme to address low-level road traffic offences.
Email: Carolyn Sharp