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Sentencing: Greater London

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 7 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many people received a (a) simple caution, (b) conditional caution, (c) cannabis warning and (d) penalty notice for disorder following a court appearance in each London local authority in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement; (309297)

(2) how many young people received a (a) reprimand, (b) final warning and (c) penalty notice for disorder following a court appearance in each London local authority in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement.

Cautions, cannabis warnings, reprimands, warnings, and penalty notices for disorder are out of court disposals issued by the police, authorised persons and the Crown Prosecution Service to deal proportionately with less serious offences which do not merit prosecution at court. Data reported centrally on the number of cautions, cannabis warnings, reprimands, warnings or penalty notices for disorder issued do not identify if an offender has previously appeared in court.

The number of persons receiving a caution, reprimand or warning, or given a penalty notice for disorder, in Greater London, by age group, from 2003 to 2007 (latest available) is given in table 1 as follows. Currently, data on simple or conditional cautions are not published separately although the Crown Prosecution Service is planning to publish conditional cautioning data on a monthly basis from February 2010.

Cautions and court proceedings data are not available at local authority level therefore information is given in the table for Greater London (includes the Metropolitan and the City of London police force areas).

Cautions, penalty notices for disorder, and court proceedings data for 2008 are planned for publication on 28 January 2010.

Since 2004 the police may issue an adult offender with a cannabis warning for simple possession of cannabis (prior to 2006 referred to as a “street warning”), in accordance with guidance issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Home Office Statisticians advise that an offence can be shown as detected once the police have issued a cannabis warning. The data collected centrally relate to the number of offences of cannabis possession detected by means of a cannabis warning and may not be the same as the number of cannabis warnings issued to offenders. Information on the number of cannabis warnings recorded by the police as method of detection for possession of cannabis offences for the London region from 2004-05 to 2008-09 can be viewed in table 2 as follows.

Table 1: The number of offenders issued with a caution, reprimand, warning and penalty notice for disorder in London2, by age group, 2003 to 20073,4,5

Cautioned

Penalty notice for disorder (PNDs)6

Total cautioned7

Aged 10 to 17 reprimand

Aged 10 to 17 warning

Aged 18 or over cautioned

Total PNDs

Aged 16 and 17

Aged 18 and over

2003

32,297

6,248

3,313

22,736

1

1

1

2004

32,433

6,851

4,128

21,454

12,818

342

12,476

2005

35,959

7,180

3,880

24,899

18,266

888

17,378

2006

44,694

8,577

4,282

31,835

21,172

1,192

19,980

2007

49,706

8,587

4,600

36,519

25,070

1,306

23,764

1 Not applicable.

2 Includes Metropolitan police force area and City of London police force area.

3 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.

4 The cautions, reprimand and warning statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When an offender has been cautioned, reprimanded or received a warning for two or more offences at the same time the principal offence is the more serious offence.

5 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.

6 The Penalty Notice for Disorder Scheme was implemented in all 43 police forces in England and Wales in 2004 under the provisions of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001.

7 Includes Reprimands and Warnings.

Source:

Justice Statistics Analytical Services.

Table 2: The number of cannabis warnings recorded by the police as method of detection for possession of cannabis offences, for the London Region1, 2004-05 to 2008-09

Police force area

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-092

London region

13,665

21,722

30,927

47,415

47,710

1 Comprises City of London Police and Metropolitan Police.

2 Since 26 January 2009, Penalty Notices for Disorder (PNDs) can be given for cannabis possession. Up to the end of March 2009 such PNDs were counted together with cannabis warnings.

Source:

Home Office Statistics.