- To protect our civil liberties under Section 8 (ECHR)
- to allow us to live our lives free from prejudice
- to prevent us from being guilty until proven/deemed innocent by future employers
- to allow us to be independent and to earn our living in the profession for which we studied and worked hard and for which we have employable expertise and skills
- to prevent us from becoming outcasts from society
- to give us back our lives, dreams, aspirations
- to stop us depending on the state for unemployment benefit, incapacity benefit, medication from the NHS for depression, stress and anxiety
- to give us back our lives.
Section 49, Schedule 10 of the Criminal Justice & Immigration Act (2008) provides protection for spent cautions in Section 8a of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act in England and Wales.
In my view this is wrong and this should be repealed along with the growing number of laws passed in the last two years exempting employers from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
Whilst some would argue that this is a good thing in that after 5 years the 'conviction' is spent and is non-declarable unless when applying for a non-exempt post, I argue that it is treating those people with cautions as 'rehabilitated' 'convicts' and 'ex-offenders' when this is not the case.
Most often recipients of cautions are not 'ex-offenders', were not 'convicted' of any crime in a court of law and were not 'rehabilitated'. So why should they be treated as such in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of future employers? THIS IS WRONG.
People have been claiming quite rightly that their civil liberties are being blighted by the fact that all cautions and other non-conviction data are declared on CRB checks. So what do they do? They treat them as 'convictions' which then become 'spent' after a period of 'rehabilitation' but are still disclosable to most employers as they've expanded the list of occupations exempt from The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 does not provide recipients of cautions with any protection but instead labels them as 'ex-offenders' with 'convictions'.
UNTIL SOMEONE HAS BEEN TRIED IN A COURT OF LAW AND FOUND TO BE GUILTY OF AN OFFENCE AFTER BEING ALLOWED TO DEFEND THEMSELVES, ONLY THEN SHOULD THEY BE LABELLED AS AN EX-OFFENDER WHO HAS BEEN REHABILITATED AND WHO HAS A STATUTORY CRIMINAL RECORD.
A CAUTION IS NOT STATUTORY BUT INFORMAL, GIVEN TO THE RECIPIENT BY A POLICEMAN WHO IN MANY CASES ADVISED OR CAJOLLED THEM INTO 'ACCEPTING' IT AND WHICH WAS 'ACCEPTED' BY THE RECIPIENT OFTEN WITHOUT LEGAL REPRESENTATION AND ADVICE AND NOT IN A COURT OF LAW WHERE PROCEDURES CAN BE ADHERED TO.
AS SUCH, NON-STATUTORY INFORMATION IS PRIVATE AND SHOULD NOT BE PROVIDED TO ANYONE REGARDLESS OF THE POSITION OF EMPLOYMENT APPLIED FOR.
This whole mess needs to be unwound, starting with:
1) Repeal Section 115(7)a and 115(7)b of the Police Act 1997 which states that 'relevant matters' which 'might be useful' 'ought to be included' in CRB checks,
2) Repeal Section 115(5) of the Police Act 1997 which states that cautions are a 'relevant matter'.
3) Repeal the numerous amendments made by the Criminal Justice & Immigration Act which provide exemption of occupations from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
4) Repeal the Criminal & Justice Act 2008 S49,sch10 which states 'it protects cautions by treating them as 'spent' after a period of 'rehabilitation' when in fact it treats cautions as 'convictions' and recipients as 'ex-offenders' who have or have been 'rehabilitated'.
5) Delete all non-conviction data including cautions, bind overs, reprimands and malicious hearsay from police databases that feed the CRB system and remove fingerprints, DNA, photographs, etc.
In my view a caution is a caution, it was spent as soon as it was given.