Police Cautions

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 13th May 2019.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on Exiting the European Union

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what guidance is provided to police forces on the procedure for administering cautions to ensure that the person involved understands the legal consequences of accepting that caution.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Out of Court Disposals (OOCDs) are measures which allow police to deal quickly and proportionately with low-level offending without recourse to the courts. Simple and Conditional Cautions exist currently for adult offenders.

Ministry of Justice published guidance on Simple Cautions for Adult Offenders, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/simple-cautions-guidance-for-police-and-prosecutors

Section 3 of the guidance states police officers must ensure the offender understands the implications of accepting a simple caution, and consents to receiving the disposal before it can be administered. The implications which must be explained are set out in paragraphs 62-76 of the guidance. This includes the significance of the admission of guilt and the retention and disclosure of criminal record information for future legal proceedings or criminal record checks. Guidance also states police officers should ensure offenders are given the opportunity to receive free and independent legal advice before accepting a simple caution.

Similar points are made in the Ministry of Justice Guidance for Conditional Cautions for Adult Offenders (also in Section 3 of the guidance) which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice-for-adult-conditional-cautions

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