Cautions 'giving out wrong message'
The caution culture fails to address youth crime and sends the wrong message to young offenders, a think-tank has said.
The Policy Exchange said three in four people were not confident in how young people accused of committing an offence were dealt with by the criminal justice system.
It also found that while the number of people aged 10-25 who admitted committing at least one criminal offence rose, the number of convictions was falling.
It called for the "ineffective and expensive" Youth Justice Board to be scrapped, saying it was wasteful and overly bureaucratic.
Max Chambers, a research fellow in the think-tank's crime and justice unit, said: "The new Government needs to get a grip on youth offending and get the money to the front line.
"Given this, and the scale of the savings required, this means that the Youth Justice Board should be scrapped.
"Although full of well-meaning officials, it is wasteful, overly bureaucratic and its central co-ordinating functions could easily be given back to the Ministry of Justice."
The think-tank said such a move would save the department almost £100 million over four years.
"Meanwhile, giving the youth custody budgets to local authorities would provide them with a real incentive to find effective ways of stopping kids committing crimes," Mr Chambers said.
A review of the Youth Justice Board found £4 million could be saved from its operating costs by 2012-13 "through supplier efficiencies arising from the renegotiation of service contracts".