POLICE in Leeds will no longer hand out cautions as part of an overhaul of out-of-court punishments which will eventually be extended across England and Wales.
West Yorkshire Police, along with forces in Leicestershire and Staffordshire, will trial the system where the six disposals available to police officers, including cautions and cannabis warnings, are replaced with two new measures.
One is a ‘community resolution’, aimed at first-time offenders responsible for a minor crime, where they would have to either offer an apology, repair the damage or pay financial compensation.
The other is a suspended prosecution, designed to tackle more serious offending, where the person responsible will face being brought before court if they don’t comply with a condition such as attending a rehabilitation course.
According to the Ministry of Justice, the use of the simple caution, where an offender simply accepts the caution with no immediate consequences, will end. The current disposals which will be replaced are conditional cautions, simple cautions, penalty notices for disorder and cannabis and khat warnings.
The three areas will trial the new approach over the next 12 months and if successful it will be replicated across the country.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: “It isn’t right that criminals who commit lower-level crime can be dealt with by little more than a warning. It’s time we put an end to this country’s cautions culture.”
But the Police Federation said a lack of training in how to implement the new disposals could be damaging to its chances of success.