A form of warning that can be given to anyone aged 10 or over, usually for minor crimes. The person has to admit committing an offence and agree to be cautioned.
There are currently two types of cautions used for adults: simple and conditional.
A simple caution is a formal notice issued by a police officer that warns a person not to re-offend, and about what could happen if they do. It is used in cases where it isn’t in the public interest to prosecute the person who has offended. This usually relates to relatively low-level offending.
A conditional caution sets specific conditions that the person is required to keep to. If the person doesn’t comply with the conditions, then the police may choose to recommend prosecution. It is likely to be used in cases where prosecution isn’t in the public interest, but the police consider that specific actions are required. This may be to reduce the likelihood of further offending, to protect a specific victim, or where previous out-of-court disposals haven’t been effective.Back to Glossary