Po­lice hand­ing out cau­tions for crimes in­clud­ing rape

Dozens es­cape charges for se­ri­ous of­fences, also in­clud­ing pos­ses­sion of guns and class A drugs

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - by Qasim Per­acha qasim.per­acha@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @qasim­per­acha

OF­FEND­ERS in Thames Val­ley have been let off with cau­tions for crimes in­clud­ing rape, car­ry­ing guns and pos­sess­ing co­caine.

Data re­leased to the Advertiser/Examiner un­der Freedom of In­for­ma­tion laws shows cau­tions were used to re­solve dozens of sex­ual crimes since April 2015.

They in­cluded 12 cau­tions given for rape.

There were a to­tal of 42 sex­ual as­saults that ended with a cau­tion be­ing is­sued. Four of these vic­tims were girls un­der 13.

This comes de­spite spe­cific gov­ern­ment in­struc­tions to po­lice bot to give cau­tions to adults for se­ri­ous crimes, ex­cept in ‘ex­cep­tional’ cir­cum­stances.

The Min­istry of Jus­tice told forces to tighten up their use of cau­tions in 2015, amid fears they were be­ing handed out too eas­ily and let­ting se­ri­ous crim­i­nals off the hook.

The data shows nu­mer­ous peo­ple caught with drugs were let off with cau­tions too.

This ex­tended to peo­ple caught with Class A drugs with in­tent to sup­ply – there were five of these cau­tions given out for co­caine, two for crack and 10 for other Class A drugs.

There was one case of some­one given a cau­tion for car­ry­ing a firearm with in­tent to in­jure, as well as other gun of­fences.

Po­lice can give cau­tions to peo­ple aged 10 or over if they ad­mit the of­fence and agree to the cau­tion.

It does not count as a crim­i­nal con­vic­tion but it can show up on your record for back­ground checks.

The Advertiser/Ex­am­ine asked Thames Val­ley Po­lice for records of all crimes dealt with us­ing cau­tions since April 2015, when the stricter rules came into ef­fect.

The force turned up 7,982 crimes in to­tal.

Some 1,410 of these were in the four dis­tricts of Buck­ing­hamshire, but the force did not iden­tify which ones specif­i­cally.

Po­lice were told by the Min­istry of Jus­tice in 2015 not to give ‘ sim­ple’ cau­tions – ones with no con­di­tions at­tached – to adults for se­ri­ous crimes un­less a se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer de­cided there were ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances in the case.

Rape and car­ry­ing knives are some of the crimes where po­lice have been in­structed only to is­sue cau­tions in ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances.

A spokesman for Thames Val­ley Po­lice said: “Thames Val­ley Po­lice com­plies with force and Min­istry of Jus­tice’s guid­ance in re­la­tion to adult and youth cau­tions.

“The sanc­tion for the of­fence is not only de­pen­dent on the of­fence clas­si­fi­ca­tion, but also takes into con­sid­er­a­tion the in­di­vid­ual cir­cum­stances.

“In some cases a cau­tion may be given for a sex­ual of­fence.

“For ex­am­ple, where both the vic­tim and sus­pect are chil­dren, if the of­fence is non re­cent or where it is not in the best in­ter­ests of the vic­tim for a case to go to trial.

“Where rel­e­vant, this is in con­sul­ta­tion with the vic­tim.

“All cau­tions for rape are only ap­plied with authorisation from the Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice and are sub­ject to in­ter­nal val­i­da­tion to en­sure that the cau­tion is the ap­pro­pri­ate sanc­tion.

“When ap­ply­ing cau­tions for drugs of­fences, again these are ap­plied in cer­tain cir­cum­stances.

“Of­ten if a cau­tion is ap­plied if it is a first of­fence, the of­fender might be a youth, and in most cases the of­fender has ad­mit­ted the of­fence and that the quan­tity of drugs found are for per­sonal use only. Again, any cau­tion would be scru­ti­nised by a se­nior of­fi­cer.

“Where this is the case the per­son is more likely to be a user of drugs and, as well as the cau­tion, we sign­post them to places where they can get sup­port, and it might not be help­ful to crim­i­nalise a vul­ner­a­ble per­son who needs help.

“Again, when ap­ply­ing cau­tions for weapons of­fences, these are dic­tated to by the cir­cum­stances of the of­fences.

“For ex­am­ple the of­fender might be a young per­son, it might be their first of­fence and in some cases the vic­tim might not sup­port a con­vic­tion.

“Over­all, when­ever a cau­tion is ap­plied for a se­ri­ous of­fence it is scru­ti­nised thor­oughly.

“Thames Val­ley Po­lice is com­mit­ted to deal­ing with se­ri­ous crim­i­nals and will al­ways seek to charge in­di­vid­u­als when it is in the pub­lic in­ter­est.

Katie Rus­sell of Rape Cri­sis Eng­land & Wales said: “The use of cau­tions in sex­ual of­fence cases con­tin­ues to be a cause for con­cern.

“In the ma­jor­ity of cases in­volv­ing adult per­pe­tra­tors, cau­tions are in­ap­pro­pri­ate, not least of all be­cause they fail to recog­nise the grav­ity of the of­fence or the long-term, widerang­ing im­pacts these crimes have on sex­ual vi­o­lence vic­tims and sur­vivors.

“Rape Cri­sis has long called for a re­view into the use of cau­tions in sex­ual of­fence cases across all po­lice forces and would still wel­come such a move.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.