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Police Cautions: Crimes of Violence

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Solicitor-General what proportion of serious violent crimes were disposed of by means of police caution rather than a court appearance in (a) Northamptonshire and (b) England in the last three years for which figures are available. (290672)

I have been asked to reply.

Information showing the number of offenders cautioned and defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts for serious violent offences in Northamptonshire and England from 2005-07 (latest available) is shown in the following table. Data for 2008 are due to be available towards the end of 2009.

Number of offenders cautioned1 and defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts for serious violent offences2, in Northamptonshire and England, 2005-073, 4

2005

2006

2007

Cautioned

Proceeded against

Number cautioned as a percentage of those cautioned or proceeded against

Cautioned

Proceeded against

Number cautioned as a percentage of those cautioned or proceeded against

Cautioned

Proceeded against

Number cautioned as a percentage of those cautioned or proceeded against

Northamptonshire

20

5172

5

32

5121

5

27

556

5

England

911

11,233

8

875

10,721

8

666

10,496

6

1 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.

2 Covers the following:

Homicide and child destruction

Causing death by dangerous driving

Attempted murder

Wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm without intent

Racially aggravated wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm

Causing death by aggravated vehicle taking

3 The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences, the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

4 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 the courts and 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.

5 The number of defendants proceeded against for Northamptonshire reflects the data received from the magistrates courts. However, during the period covered by the table, there were data quality issues. Hence, it would be unwise to place much credence in the drop of prosecutions over time and thus in the increase in the percentage cautioned if derived.

Source:

Evidence and Analysis Unit, Office for Criminal Justice Reform.