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Police cautions to have 4 year expiry

15 Comments 2nd June 2016

Police Cautions currently stay on your record for life – which means each time a CRB check is done it is picked up and has to be explained over and over again.

This leads to continual explanation every time a CRB check is done.

Why does this matter?

If the caution had an expiry time it would stop the unnecessary repetition and constant smearing of an individual.  They have had their caution and their period (say 4 years like points on a licence) on record – so why not let them have a clean slate after a set period.

The caution means the police chose not to pursue it through the courts – therefore it is not as serious an offence – so why must a person’s employment and other activities be affected forever and a day by the caution?

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15 Responses to Police cautions to have 4 year expiry

  1. Kieran says:

    This is a good idea. It’s hard to bellieve this isn’t already in place. Cautions are not even proof of wrong doing. Many times cautions are given after an accusation which has no proof to back it up. Cautions should definately have an expiry time.

  2. Dave says:

    Very good idea, although I would say 1 year as the effect on employability is dire.

  3. Jomalot says:

    I totally agree with an expiry date for a caution for the following three reason: The crime has not been proven; there is probably not enough evidence for a court case and it is generally not of a serious nature. Also, in some cases an individual may be coerced into accepting a caution, when it may not be in their best interests, just to get the matter over and done with – not realizing the consequences.

  4. Chris says:

    Police cautions are a JOKE !!!!!!!
    i had an argument with my daughter, my X,wife then called the police to say I,d battered her and I was arrested.
    Even with witnesses that told police I didn’t touch her, I received a police caution as I thought it was just a slap on the wrist.
    Little did I know , it it now affecting my career in the NHS from moving on.

    • Andrea says:

      The same thing happened to me. My teenage daughter was unmanageable and despite asking for help from social services for several years nothing was given. My marriage broke down because of this and I was in such a state that one day I lost my temper and smacked my daughter – I was horrified by this and told the social worker what had happened. The next thing the police were on the doorstep and I accepted a caution as like you I thought it was just a slap on the wrist and I was also under the impression that it expired after 5 years.
      I was in shock by what was happening and looking back I don’t think I understood what was going on – I had never been in trouble with the law in my life before – I was forced into accepting the caution but now I wish I’d had my day in court

  5. Zecchetti says:

    I’d say, for fist time offences it should never come on Crb and even police certificates! I know of someone basically tricked into accepting a caution for doing something that you’d have to take stretch your imagination to accept as an offence. Now this person will always have it on his police record – affecting his immigration prospects.

  6. adewumi says:

    Police caution shouldn’t be on crb as there was not always legal evidence to prove except police assumptions that you have committed the crime and should be warned.
    On my own case in 2009.
    I worked in the night and came home 5.00am in the money. I was tired and felt sleepy.at this time around, my live in partner of 7yrs by then was going out about 9.30am in the morning. She went into my pocket and took some money to take to the casino because she gambles a lot. My instinct woke me up before she was out. I asked her how much she took but instead started running away. This time around I had forgotten about it. After 30 minutes I had 4 massive police officers at my door arresting me for abuse.
    In my entire life I have never abuse anyone talkless of a woman I love.
    What happened was she thought I was running after her and eventually fell down outside the door which I new nothing about.I didn’t know what she told the police and didn’t bother to ask because I was tired of sleep. all I wanted to do was to have a peaceful rest.
    In short I was released to go home with my fiancée through a kangaroo police bail lawyer who sweet talked me that there was nothing and made me sign.with my stupidity I didn’t read the paper because I had not been able to sleep.
    Little did I know on my next crb, I realised the police cauton on my innocence. I went back it was too late.
    My suggestion is, the system is a scrap and shouldn’t be left with the police to handle.it should be in the court most especially if you are Indian,black African,or foreigners just for the benefit of the doubt.
    In short the system is unfair.people are tricked in to submissions by the police just to get the job done.

  7. Alexander says:

    Police caution should have an expiry date at least, a caution is fair to stay on record for life. This an assumption by police and it’s not a court judgement like. A person with a good career and lost his job for caution offence is not fair and people like that end up either doing jobs they want to or end up committing suicide if they can’t cope with the downgrade of their lives. This is what government should look like and most people are tricked into accepting caution.

  8. fred says:

    bad idea. I have been harassed by a neighbour for nearly 10 years now. He was given a conditional caution for damage to my property back in 2009. I have just found out he has been given another caution for assult. If these are removed after 4 years then there will be no trace of this mans behaviour. As it is this confirms his character.

    • Twonkter says:

      No, it’s still a good idea. Yours is the exception where the person actually needs more than a caution and requires a day in court. Almost every post here is about how people have been talked into cautions or they thought it was a slap on the wrist, but it has persisted with them throughout their life and career. Your neighbour needs reporting correctly, not a caution.

      I was going to post separately, but I may as well say it here. I have a totally bogus caution for Heroin possession! I don’t even do drugs. I’m a 35 year old, employed, home owner etc. As far as I can tell, what happened was a dealer was being chased through a busy part of London by community support officers (I live in Brighton, I wouldn’t even know a dealer in London, I was just there for the day) this guy stopped and shoved me before getting on a bike and peddling off as the support officers arrived behind me. They asked me what I ‘bought’, I told them I didn’t know what they were talking about, so they held me until the ‘real’ police arrived, who arrested me on suspicion of possession, searched me, found nothing, no evidence but held me in a cell while making up caution paperwork which I had to sign before they said would let me go (I assume they thought I’d swallowed a bag of Heroin or whatever?.. Sure, as police were running toward me… I made a deal with a guy running at me and swallowed drugs.) I assumed it was a slap on the wrist, not real record stuff. But I heard any drugs charge would affect my chances of getting into America and I travel a lot. I cannot believe I have this on my record – an evidence-less caution.

  9. Jonathan Bates says:

    This is a very sensible idea, I had an ex girlfriend accuse me of harassment on very scant evidence. I accepted a caution, since it would have cost me £10k in legal costs just to prove my innocence. also I didn’t know cautions had a lingering negative smear. eventually I left the UK because of how one sided and ridiculous the whole police action had been.

  10. Brendan Murphy says:

    Ive been a member of her majesty’s army, and have also worked with vulnerable adults, and at the age of 32 i have never been in trouble with the police, and had a glowing record both for serving my country and in civilian life, but After the loss of my father and dealing with probate and in grief and very distressed and suffering depression after watching my father waste away and die, I was very low and drunk one evening and I smashed the inside of my own property, I didn’t harm any one physically or damage property belonging to anyone else, but the police came and I was carted off in a police van, I was compliant and non aggressive I did not resist arrest, I was suffering mentally and in grief, id never been arrested or cautioned for anything before, but was put in a cell and cautioned in the morning while not in the right frame of mind, im upset that this caution was issued to myself an informal warning for a first offense( if thats what u class breaking/damaging ur own property/belongings as should of been enough) but no I now have this black mark against my name, so now my exemplary conduct reference from my comnanding officer while in the army and my service certificate are not even worth the paper they are written on,
    A caution should be handed to real criminals, not people suffering, I have written in now Im over my depression to try and appeal, and in my letter I have placed the following documents
    -my last disclosure 100% clean,
    – my doctors letter proving my depression,
    -my armed forces ref (particularly mentioning my honesty and trustworthiness, in an effort
    To try and have this terrible life changing black mark removed because if I was in the right frame of mind and also sober at the time and understood the implications properly I would not of signed to accept it, I would rather of gone to court, a caution is non evidential yes I admitted in interview id damaged my property, but does niw mean if I drop my mobile phone I can be subject to a caution I know feel joining the army wasn’t worth my effort, and if im honest Im bbeginning feel what is the point in continuing to be law abiding, when I have been subject to suffering financially via offers of employment revoked,
    There needs to be a better system in place for people who are suffering mental illnesses, provided they haven’t harmed anyone or property belonging to others, its disgusting and I think in my circumstance it was a harsh punishment for someone’s first offence Again I still feel thats questionable,
    I’ve currently been waiting about 1.5 weeks for a response, to my letter of appeal that was sent recorded delivery, I know its been delivered as I’ve tracked it via Royal mails website,
    I think a verbal warning should be issued first on individuals like my self with a record as clean as mine once was, before a caution is even considered In the first place,
    I find it disgusting that this now will impact my job prospects, and ultimately my earning potential and will affect me my whole life even at pension age when I myself will be vulnerable and scrapping by on a lower pension due to the loss of previous earning potential and missed job opportunities,

  11. Sanna you says:

    caution should have an expiry date. if cautions do not show on the crb be cause it is spent after 6 years, it should be completely removed like as if there are no trace. if that person hasn’t committed further crimes, and a caution is apparently a ‘slap on the wrist’ like they say it when they dish out cautions, the slap shouldnt leave a life long mark.

  12. G.Squire. says:

    A good idea but with serious limitations. i.e. If you get a police caution and it expires after even one year, it will already be in many DBS and other checking systems and will probably remain there.

    Also if the caution causes the loss of your job as a school teacher or voluntary youth church worker, it will still be remembered by the education
    authority or church many years later if not for life.

    PND ticket fines and cautions should only be given for very minor offences that render the person a danger to no one. If it is more serious it should go to court where a police officer does not act as prosecutor, judge and jury.

    Offences that have been deemed to be to trivial to go to court should never ever get onto the police computer system in the first place. No other EU country does that so why should we? It is nothing but draconian extremism.

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