A review aimed at stopping serious and repeat offenders from escaping with a caution has been launched.
Working closely with the police and other criminal justice professionals, the review will scrutinise the way in which ‘simple’ cautions are currently used and consider the need for any changes.
It will examine:
- existing guidance and practice
- whether there are some offence types for which the use of simple cautions is generally inappropriate – and if so, what procedures should be adopted
- the reasons why multiple cautions are given to some criminals
- the difference in the use of cautions by police force areas and whether increased scrutiny is needed to ensure they are used consistently
- the impact on individuals of accepting a caution including any potential impact on future employment
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said:
“While we should not remove police officer discretion, the public and victims have a right to expect that people who commit serious crimes should be brought before a court.
“This review is a significant step to ensuring that cautions are used correctly and in the interests of justice.”
The review will report to criminal justice ministers by the end of May 2013.
A simple caution is an out of court disposal given by the police to adult criminals when specified criteria are met. It is designed to be used for low-level offending.