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Volume 454: debated on Tuesday 5 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cautions have been issued in each of the last five years; for what categories of offences cautions were issued; and whether cautions can be repeated for the same offence. (104491)

Data on cautions issued in the last five years by offence type are presented in Table 3.1 of Criminal Statistics 2005 which can be found at the following web site link:

Guidance on the use of the Simple Caution for adult offenders is set out in Home Office circular 30/2005. The police (and CPS where appropriate) will consider whether a caution is appropriate to the offence and the offender and whether it is likely to be effective in the circumstances. If the suspect has previously received a caution, a further caution should not normally be considered. However, if there has been a sufficient lapse of time to suggest that a previous caution has had a significant deterrent effect (two years or more), a caution can be used.

In the case of those aged 10-17 cautions were replaced by the Final Warning Scheme under Sections 65 and 66 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 which introduced reprimands and final warnings. Depending on the seriousness of the offence, a reprimand is normally given for a first offence and a final warning for a second offence. If a young person who has been given a final warning commits a further offence he or she must be charged (the only exception is where it is at least two years since the previous warning and the offence is not so serious as to require a charge, in which case a further warning can be given).