John Dwyer, Police & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire has welcomed the review of the use of police cautions launched by the Lord Chancellor which aims to stop serious and repeat offenders from escaping with a caution.
John Dwyer said, "so long as the review is measured and balanced against the needs of the victim, it will ensure that the people who commit serious crimes are brought to answer for their crimes appropriately. However, sometimes, it is the victim who does not wish to press charges and police officer must be victim focussed in their use of discretion. I am a firm believer in not letting offenders get away with serious crimes, and if a caution is the most appropriate outcome to prevent re-offending, it should only be used once.
Working with the police and other criminal justice professionals, the review by the Ministry of Justice will scrutinise the way in which ‘simple’ cautions are currently used and consider the need for any changes.
In Cheshire, the number of simple cautions fell by 17% from 2,414 in 2011 to 1,999 in 2012.
It will examine:
•Existing guidance and practice.
•Whether there are some offence types for which the use of simple cautions is generally inappropriate − and if so, what procedures should be adopted.
•The reasons why multiple cautions are given to some criminals.
•The difference in the use of cautions by police force areas and whether increased scrutiny is needed to ensure they are used consistently.
•The impact on individuals of accepting a caution including any potential impact on future employment.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said:
′While we should not remove police officer discretion, the public and victims have a right to expect that people who commit serious crimes should be brought before a court. This review is a significant step to ensuring that cautions are used correctly and in the interests of justice.′