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Police cautions are NOT a get-off

(5 Posts)
Kerchoff Mon 14-Mar-16 09:37:09

That story about a bloke being arrested and prosecuted for leaving a two-year old in a car for a few minutes is back in the news again.

I'm not involved in any such issue at all, but for those who might face such accusations, or even if you're offered a caution by police on any matter, just please remember that a caution is NOT a let-off-free issue.

A police caution, if you accept it,is an admission of guilt and is added to your criminal record. Remarkably, I've heard discussions between barristers in Crown Court as to whether or not this is the case!

You can stop listening to me and read the MoJ's own guidance here:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/simple-cautions-guidance-for-police-and-prosecutors

What is more, that caution you accepted blindly as a way to go home without further action - or so you thought - can and will then resurface as a prosecution if some other, similar offence happens in future, where it will likely count against you.

Please do remember that you have the legal right to refuse to accept a police caution, and that no police officer doing his/her job properly should simply 'give you one' as the only option. In that case, there will be a later administrative decision as to whether or not to pursue it in a court.

It is for you to judge whether or not you are guilty and accept that guilt and so the caution in each case. If you have no tax on the car, for example, you have no tax and that is that. No point arguing, really.

But for more esoteric cases like childcare, you should consider whether the caution being offered is reasonable. Due to the UK's tendendcy towards bansheeism these days, often, that reasonableness is absent.

DrAmandaBentley Mon 14-Mar-16 09:47:50

I've always been aware of the same, and would advise anyone who doesn't admit guilt, to avoid accepting a caution. People do seem to think (and I don't think the police help), that it's a way of getting out of any legal wranglings easily and with no repercussions. Until you need a CRB (DBS) check! And then you're in trouble.

VertigoNun Mon 14-Mar-16 09:50:26

Is this about the Dad who left a child in the car for five minutes?

Readysteadyknit Mon 14-Mar-16 10:03:17

This is really important information.

Both DC school's give talks to 6th form about this matter but, according to teacher friends, it doesn't happen in every school. DC were told that the police sometimes "sell" the caution as a sort of "get out of jail free" card without explaining the possible consequences.

Kerchoff Mon 14-Mar-16 11:10:33

Not about the parent himself, who was found not liable for any wrongdoing. The point about caution came up during a follow-on discussion on Radio 4's 'Today' programme where, not for the first time, cautions were raised as 'getting away with it' resolutions.

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