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Police Cautions Need an Urgent Review

8 Comments 16th October 2014

Up until recently a Police caution stood for five years and then it came off. Now in my own case I have a police caution for assault based purely on the say so of the alleged assaultee- and it appears that it stands not for five years but for life.

Now, I am about to finish a degree and start my career which is now severely hampered by this unjustified caution and for the rest of my life I have to explain this asault that i did not commit to potential empolyers again on the say so of someone I ended a relationship with and who thought it a fitting act of revenge to get me this caution.

Surely given the nature of a caution, i.e its a pretty flimsy non event that doesnt warrant court action, hampering a persons career for life when there is the distinct possibility of innocence, is just wrong?

It is wrong, we all know its wrong. Limiting it to 5 years would adequately act as a deterrent for those that commit minor offences but a lifetime caution is a punishment for life based on flimsy and questionable evidence and decided by the hunches of two police officers.

I would reccomend changing this.


Why does this matter?

Its important because people need to move on with their lives. People need to get a job and its unfair to tarnish their chances with a crb check that highlights some misdemeanour that either never happenned or happenned just the once.

It acts as a permanent restriction on the right of an individual to work. It even blights future prospects for a relationship and restricts travel abroad.

This lifelong caution idea does not appear to match the current governments targets of raising aspiration in people.

If you are manacled to a ball and chain for life, its not only going to reduce your chances but its also going to reduce ones hopes and aspirations.

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8 Responses to Police Cautions Need an Urgent Review

  1. kevin blumer says:

    the problem is with cautions they do indeed stay with you and wreck your lives i was cautioned twice for asalt of a police officer both times i was dragged out the house then arrested and i wasnt read my rights what future have i really got with my girlfirend she cant have kids also we cant adobt becuase of my cautions sh@@t happens life goes on well it would do i would love the priminister to give me some inpiration or guidence now

  2. Jadon says:

    Completely agree. I graduated, and I’m finding it very hard to get a teaching job because of my caution for defending myself three years ago. I’ve actually written to my MP about it, and he showed interest, but once he wrote to the Ministry of Justice (or whoever), they gave me some b/s about how the system is being “reviewed”.

    Apparently this review just made cautions worse, using the 2011 riots as an excuse.

    But as I say, my MP showed some interest (he’s a Lib Dem, btw). I think if we can get a group together regarding this, we’d have some power.

    I’ve literally given up on my dream of being a teacher – there’s no chance, especially in this economic climate where everyone has a degree, and there’s always somebody who DOESN’T have a caution.

    Cameron’s admitted to “doing things he shouldn’t” when he was younger. Imagine if he got a caution for possession? He certainly wouldn’t be Prime Minister; he’d be unemployable and pretty-much barred from entering a number of countries (I feel sorry for anyone with a drug-related caution, since they destroy your chances of travelling to a lot of places).

  3. Dave says:

    This is depressing as I am hoping to do a PGCE and have a caution for common assault (defending myself too). Cautions for non-sexual offences should not be on CRB checks, end of.

  4. DB says:

    I was was caught in possession of a class A substance, I was carrying it for a friend who had just celebrated their birthday and had asked me to take their presents home (I was leaving early to go to a friends wedding the next day) along with the presents was a small tiny amount of what I was told was ecstasy, for some reason I agreed to take it. On the way home I came across police with sniffer dogs, I panicked and threw the substance away, unfortunately I was seen and the long arm of the law took me in. I was cautioned for possession despite it being 15 minutes of possession of what turned out to be 0.2 grams of heroin!!! I just could believe it! I passed all the drugs tests (as i have ever been interested or taken drugs) and fully cooperated with the police (even got offered a job as a police special by the Sargent in charge) I admitted I was wrong to be in possession and there was no denying I was in possession. HOWEVER I did not realise the implications of accepting a caution, I can no longer travel to the USA I have NO chance to right my wrong as cautions no longer get expunged, I have the filthy word HEROIN next to my name and feel I can’t commit to a relationship as they may not accept or believe me about this incident! A convict has a rehabilitation period and can clear their name so why on earth have I been handed a LIFE SENTENCE for something that was a mistake and foolish NOT malicious or harmful to anyone (thank God my friend didn’t take anymore of the substance!!!) I believe that cautions desperately need to be reviewed and included in the 1974 ROA act – they should also not restrict travel or life oppourtunies (if the crime was serious enough to take these things away then a fair trial in a court should be given NOT a pressured decision at 6am I the morning where you don’t understand fully the consequences and/or the implications. I hurried this decision as I had a wedding to get to, what’s more the special officer that caught me said he should’ve let me go… I did wrong but this punishment doesn’t fit the crime. I made the wedding on time with only two hours sleep but now am missing my best mates stag doo in Vegas as I am fearful I won’t get granted a visa unless this law changes and the sooner the better. I hold down a respected job as a producer I have a degree and even my work know and still employ me (Phew) they can see the charge is completely ridiculous! Please review police cautions before they cause young people and hard working to take their own lives – we are only human and everyone makes mostakes. (Yes I did get depressed until I talked with work and friends about this horrible incident the caution is not a conviction so why does it make you a life long convict?)

  5. Geraldine Maya says:

    2013…This is still in need of urgent review. Police are not informing of the consequences of signing for cautions…They are a quick fix to end their paperwork. In 2006 I defended myself against a girl who attacked me whilst I was out shopping with my mother. I defended myself and pushed her away, in doing so sunglasses fell off the top of her head. The police were called and they told me not to worry about her. Months passed, and she must have chased police to contact me…I was told to attend a police station where I had no legal representation…I was told to sign to get out of the police station.
    I signed for a caution for what I now know to be two offenses – ‘common assault’ and ‘criminal damage!’ Incidently no-one ever saw the alleged damaged sunglasses, though some time after I had a bill for £150. The girl was fully aware I was studying a PGCE, and that this would end my future working with children. The incident was wholly isolated and I had never been in a police station before. The girl even tried to cause trouble telling my employer in the university where I worked. They didn’t sack me, but I have never gained a promotion, even after completing an MSc.
    It is wrong to punish people, because they fall victim, and are unaware of the legal system.
    Reform is needed. I will be writing to my MP, and have written to the police to lodge a complaint, they responded in advising me to get a solicitor.
    If this has happened to you, or someone you know,
    lobby your MP, and speak out. Thanks for reading.

    • and says:

      Geraldine Maya – I suggest looking at the updated DSB filtering guidelines see link below. Some common sense is starting to come through.

      Common Assault and Criminal Damage cautions appear to be filtered from CRB checks after 6 years.

      It’s odd that someone can commit a minor offense and be potentially be barred from working in their chosen area i.e. working with children but is there no common sense that hey, people have children of their own kids and therefore have full unsupervised access to children all the time! I’m not suggesting significant crimes shouldn’t come up or repeat offenders but petty theft committed when some was a CHILD shouldn’t have never been considered listing on a CRB check, everyone makes mistakes weather caught is another matter. You just got to hope the person interviewing is reasonable with minor mistakes most will be but hey you’re going to get people that will not budge.

      The other alternative is work in the private sector where CRB checks are rarely done, the only annoying thing there is you’re paying the tax to keep people in jobs that barred you from working with them.

      My final note is a CAUTION is not a conviction (criminal record) but more a PNC record the name CRB – Criminal Records Bureau should only list a CRIMINAL RECORD as the name implies. If all cautions get listed in effect the Police become the judge, jury and executioner. The Police certainly have a difficult job but there will be many that if rejected the caution wouldn’t get convicted. It seems caution maybe a statistic.

  6. Karen says:

    I am a 60 year old retired university lecturer living in Middlesbrough with no previous criminal convictions for anything. I am 5 feet tall and have had 3 heart attacks

    Following a disagreement over dogs, I was attacked by an off duty Cleveland Police Community Support Officer.

    Although it was a case of one person’s word against another and only I suffered any injuries, I was misled by the duty Solicitor into continuing to believe like most people that a Police Caution was simply a ‘ticking off’ or to quote Chris Grayling, a ‘slap on the wrist’ and that it was therefore a good option to go for

    Home Office police guidelines state that the police must explain the implications of a Police Caution.

    In my case this was circumvented by the Duty Solicitor being the one who suggested the Police Caution.

    First of all, although she was recommending a plea of self defence, she backed up the contention of the police that I would not win the case if it went to court.

    Then she said that, as a special favour, because of my age and because I had no previous convictions, the police were prepared to offer me a Police Caution as long as I withdrew my plea of self defence and made a statement to that effect immediately. I asked the Duty Solicitor over and over again if there would be any repercussions and she said each time there would not be. I have since discovered from the Legal Ombudsman that there is no requirement for a solicitor to explain the implications of a Police Caution.

  7. G.Squire. says:

    I head up a church youth organisation and I know of many very decent young adults who cannot work in the NHS or with juveniles in the UK and cannot get house insurance and have problems with visas and just because as a young adult they were once given a PND ticket fine or official caution for giving a V sign to a CCTV, discrete urination. belching, making a pig-like noise, paddling in a fountain etc and that has given them a lifelong police record on the police national computer and is disclosed on their DBS document. Now we have a had a ‘PND suicide’ , it is draconian and outrageous. Trivia should never be stored on the PNC.

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