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Review of Cautions

Volume 561: debated on Monday 15 April 2013

The Secretary of State for Justice, together with the Home Secretary and the Attorney-General, launched on 3 April 2013 a review of simple cautions. This will examine the way in which simple cautions are currently used, and consider the need for any changes to policy or practice to ensure that there is transparency, accountability and public confidence in the use of simple cautions as a disposal.

The review will include (but not necessarily be restricted to) the examination of:

existing guidance and practice relating to the use of simple cautions;

the question of whether there are some offence types for which the use of simple cautions is generally inappropriate—and if so, what procedures should be adopted;

the multiple use of cautions;

the need for increased scrutiny of, and accountability for, the use of a caution in any given case, or the general approach adopted in a police force area to the use of cautions as a disposal; and

the impact on individuals of accepting a caution—taking into account the recent case of T v. Chief Constable of Greater Manchester and others.

While I do not intend to conduct a formal public consultation, officials will work widely and closely with the main criminal justice bodies, (police, prosecutors, the magistracy and judiciary), as well as the wider legal community and those voluntary and third sector organisations with an interest in the criminal justice system.

The review will report to criminal justice Ministers by the end of May 2013 and any Government proposals stemming from consideration of this will be brought forward in due course.