To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many cautions have been issued for offences of (a) murder, (b) rape, (c) sexual assault, (d) robbery and (e) burglary in (i) each year between 2010 and 2013 and (ii) each month since January 2013. [Official Report, 1 September 2014, Vol. 585, c. 2-8MC.]
The number of offenders (including young people) cautioned, for offences of rape, sexual assault, robbery and burglary, by months in England and Wales from 2010 to 2013 (latest available) can be viewed in the table. There were no cautions administered for murder.
Simple cautions (previously police cautions) are a non-statutory disposal available to the police to dispose of any offence committed by an adult and designed for dealing with low level, mainly first time offending. The Government does not believe that cautions are appropriate for serious offences. We issued new guidelines on
The Ministry of Justice issues guidance on the process to be followed by the police and the CPS when they are administering simple cautions for adult offenders. This guidance states that the use of a simple caution for indictable only offences, such as rape, should only be given following authorisation by the CPS. These will be cases where there were exceptional circumstances which would mean that it was not in the public interest to prosecute.
The overall number of simple cautions issued has halved since 2007. The cautioning rate, that is, the number of offenders cautioned as a percentage of offenders who were either cautioned or convicted, in 2013 was 20%; this has declined from a peak of 31% in 2007.
The Government is clear that serious offences should always be brought to court and to ensure that there is increased public confidence in the justice system last year announced limits on the use of simple cautions. These changes restrict the use of cautions for indictable only offences and certain serious either way offences unless there are exceptional circumstances and a senior police officer, as well as the CPS for certain cases, has agreed that a caution should be administered.
The MOJ guidance on Adult Simple Cautions was amended in November last year to reflect these changes, and we are currently legislating in the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill to place statutory restrictions around their use.
|Offenders cautioned1,2 for selected offences, by month, England and Wales, 2010-20133|
|1 The cautions statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When an offender has been cautioned for two or more offences at the same time the principal offence is the more serious offence. 2 From 1 June 2000 the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 came into force nationally and removed the use of cautions for persons under 18 and replaced them with reprimands and warnings. These figures have been included in the totals. 3 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. 4 Sexual Offences Act 2003, s2, s3, s6, s7 5 Sexual Offences Act 2003, s1, s5 6 Theft Act 1968, s.9, S.9(1)(a), S.9(1)(b), S.9 (1)(a) or (b), S.10 7 Theft Act 1968, S.8 Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice|