Police Cautions

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 29th January 2020.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union, Chair, Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to ensure that people offered a caution in a police station understand the implications of accepting one in respect of future Disclosure and Barring Service checks.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Minister of State (London)

Ministry of Justice guidance sets out clear expectations in terms of police explaining the implications of accepting a caution.

Ministry of Justice guidance on Simple Cautions for Adult Offenders 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

In addition, the Ministry of Justice and Youth Justice Board published guidance on Youth Out of Court Disposals, which includes relevant guidance in Section 5.22-23 and can be found at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/438139/out-court-disposal-guide.pdf

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