The PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) have primary responsibility for investigating crimes committed within Northern Ireland. Much of the law setting out police powers and duties when investigating crime is contained in the Police and Criminal Evidence (NI) Order 1989. This is more commonly known as PACE legislation and covers such issues as police power to arrest, access to an appropriate adult, right to fingerprint or take DNA samples, etc. Further information is available on the Childrens's law centre website.
There are many different reasons why young people get involved in crime, and the Police Service works in partnership with a number of Agencies (eg; Probation Service; Education Welfare; Social Services; Youth Justice Agency) to help those who do. It is important to emphasise that the majority of young people who come to the attention of the police will be dealt with through a diversionary approach and only a small number go on to appear in court. For young people who admit their offence the Police Service has what’s called a Youth Diversion Scheme (YDS) which has been designed specifically for young people under 17 who come into contact with the law.