The Youth Justice Board is seeking a policy change to divert young offenders committing low-level offences from custody into restorative justice schemes.
YJB member Rosemary Hartill said it wanted the police to be given the flexibility to use restorative justice as an alternative to reprimands for low-level offences.
Currently, restorative justice does not count towards the police force’s offences brought to justice targets, discouraging its use.
Youth offending team managers have criticised the targets for fast-tracking young people into custody.
Hartill said the call was part of the YJB’s aim to extend its restorative justice programmes, under which offenders are encouraged to recognise the impact of their crimes on victims. Examples include youth offender panels, under which offenders discuss the consequences of their actions with community volunteers and youth offending team staff and agree a contract to repair the harm.
The YJB has set up a restorative justice strategy group, chaired by Hartill, to help implement new restorative justice schemes and develop a long-term strategy.