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Police caution unfairness

3 Comments 14th August 2010

 

A Police Caution, while not a criminal conviction, will remain on a person's police record for life. It will show up on a CRB check when applying for certain jobs. Cautions are intended for minor offences to prevent people reoffending. However, even if the person does not commit any further offences, they will forever have to live with the stigma of a police record. Instead of a caution being used to put someone "back on track" after a misdemeanour, they act as a weight round their neck and hinder the person's ability to prove they can do better and positively fulfil their ambitions.

 

I believe this is damaging to our society, and as such police cautions should be removed from a person's record after say 2-3 years. After all, they only apply to minor, usually first-time, offences, which can arguably be less serious than some motoring offences that are dealt with by points. We need greater proportion in the system.

Why does this matter?

 

I received a police caution a year ago for travelling on a train without a valid ticket. Stupidly I tried to talk myself out of the situation, thinking I was going to get fined. I had never got on the wrong side of the law previously, nor have I since. My experience of the police and the legal system was, to say the least – naive. I was scared, confused and just wanted to get out of the situation. Through my own naivety, and a Police Officer who pushed me into accepting the caution quickly, I now have a criminal record. I was never told the implications of receiving the caution and that it would remain on my record for 100 years!

 

Having since learned that a caution is not simply just a formal 'ticking off'. It can affect my ability to get certain jobs, to travel and undermines my ability to be viewed as a 'good citizen' for the rest of my life. There is nothing I can do to rectify that.

 

I am hard-working, have a first-class degree, a good job – yet due to this one misdemeanour I will always have a black-mark against me.

 

This is deeply wrong. In my experience the caution has served its intended purpose. However, the lasting effect of it has been devastating for me. It has affected my self-confidence, my career and life ambitions. I feel stigmatised and marginalised, and all for one stupid mistake for the sake of a few quid.

 

While I deeply regret what I did, I feel the lasting effects of cautions remaining on police records for life a wholly inappropriate punishment for minor offences such as mine. I feel robbed of my rights and disillusioned with the justice system.

 

People with cautions for minor offences should have a completely clean record after 2-3 years so that they have a chance to get on with their lives.

 

If motoring offences, many of which are arguably much more serious than my own can be dealt with by points on your licence, then we desperately need some greater equality in the handling of other offences.

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3 Responses to Police caution unfairness

  1. Geraldine Maya says:

    I am totally with you on this, and feel your injustice. The current system of cautions staying with you for life is unfair, and Police should be aware of the damage that they do to peoples lives, and inform appropriately.

  2. craig london says:

    100% with you on that. System needs to change this old and dawning law. Its not helping the economy or offenders. After the rehab they should be free into society, start again. ]
    We live and learn. We all make mistakes in our lives, we shouldn’t be scared by a mistake.

  3. Soma says:

    I am 100% agree with you if they want to punished you for what you have done wrong one year or tow years okay 3 years not for rest your life,,, I am totally agree With you.

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