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Cautions, warnings and penalties

Simple caution

Simple cautions can be given to anyone over 10 years of age, for minor crimes. To receive a caution, there must be sufficient evidence to prosecute and the offender must admit guilt and agree to be being cautioned. If an offender refuses the caution, they can be charged with the offence.

A caution is not a criminal conviction and may be used as evidence if you go to court for any other crime, they may also show on standard and enhanced DBS checks.

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Conditional caution

A conditional caution is different to a simple caution, as there are certain conditions that must be followed to avoid prosecution.

Conditional cautions can be given to anyone over 10 years of age, for minor crimes. To receive a caution, there must be sufficient evidence to prosecute and the offender must admit guilt and agree to be being cautioned.

If the offender does not follow the conditions of the caution, they can be arrested and charged with the offence. However, if the conditions are followed within the agreed timescales, the case will be closed without a criminal conviction.

When accepting a conditional caution, an individual may be offered three types of conditions;

  • A rehabilitative condition aims to help offenders change their attitude in order to stop them from committing further offences. This may include attending awareness classes for the effects of drugs, for example.

  • A reparative condition helps offenders fix the harm they may have caused to a person or community, for example paying for the damage they may have caused.

  • A punitive condition is given to individuals when no rehabilitative or reparative conditions are appropriate. This may include being handed a fine.

Just like a simple caution, it may show on both a standard and enhanced DBS check.

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Youth caution

A youth caution can be given to a young person aged 10 to 17 years of age providing they admit to the criminal offence/s and officers have enough evidence to prove the offence was committed. The caution is an out-of-court disposal which replaces the final warning scheme.

Young people who receive cautions are referred to the Youth Offending Team (YOT) who offer interventions to help prevent further offending. The caution appears on most enhanced criminal record checks.

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Youth conditional caution

A youth conditional caution is the same as a youth caution but with additional conditions attached to it.

It can be offered to a person aged 10 to 17 years of age if they admit to the offence and officers have enough evidence to prove the offence was committed by them.

The caution is an alternative to prosecution and appropriate conditions are advised by the Youth Offending Team (YOT) following an assessment.

The YOT is also responsible for ensuring the conditions are complied with and if conditions aren't followed, it may result in prosecution for the original offence. 

The caution appears on most enhanced criminal record checks.

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Acceptable behaviour contract

This contract is a voluntary written agreement between an individual and either the police, the local authority or registered social landlords. When given to a young person under 18 years of age, a contract will also be issued to a parent or guardian.

The terms of the contract are agreed during an interview, where the person agrees not to be involved with specified anti-social activities. The contract is signed in the presence of their parent/s or guardian/s, a representative of the agencies serving the contract and a local police officer.

A full list of anti-social behaviour warnings and penalties can be found on  Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014alongside details of these powers.

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Cannabis warning

A cannabis warning cannot be issued to a person under 18 years of age. A warning can be issued by a police officer and does not have to take place at a police station.

If an offender is caught a second time for the same offence, they should receive either a fixed penalty notice, simple caution or conditional caution.

If caught a third time, they will be prosecuted.

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Community payback

Community payback offers local people the opportunity to have a say as to how offenders should make amends for the harm they have caused. 

Usually this results in unpaid work carried out by the offender within the community, which benefits local schools, faith groups, churches, charities and community organisations.

Offenders are expected to carry out a minimum of six hours community payback work per week and must complete the project within 12 months. Offenders carrying out this type of work will wear high visibility jackets with ‘Community Payback’ printed on them.

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Penalty notice for disorder

A penalty notice can be given to anyone aged 18 or over for minor disorder offences, such as drunk and disorderly behaviour, and results in the offender paying a fixed penalty.  A local record is kept but is not a conviction

Penalty notice for disorder – for young people aged 16 and 17 years only

A penalty notice may also be issued to young people aged 16 or 17 years old. It orders them to pay a fixed penalty amount, suitable for minor disorder offences.

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Motoring offence penalty notice

A Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) or Traffic Offence Report (TOR) can be issued for a wide range of traffic offences. This can include driving without due care and attention, using a mobile phone whilst driving, obstruction, vehicle defects and no insurance.

We may issue a traffic offence report (TOR) instead of a fixed penalty ticket to allow us to offer driver education courses

There are two types of motoring offence for which a TOR can be issued;

  1. Non-endorsable offences – are issued for offences such as driving without an MOT or failing to wear a seatbelt. These offences carry fines between £30 and £100 with no penalty points endorsed on your driving licence.
  2. Endorsable offences – are issued for offences such as speeding, using a mobile phone whilst driving or driving with no insurance. These offences carry fines between £100 and £300 and can result in between three and six penalty points being added to your driving licence. Some endorsable offences allow the opportunity to attend an educational course instead of paying a fine. 

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Speeding offences

Speeding penalties are categorised into three main bands and vary depending on your weekly income and how fast you’re driving at the time of the offence. Visit our speeding webpage for further information

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Criminal behaviour order

This order has replaced Antisocial Behaviour Orders (ASBOs).

A criminal behaviour order (CBO) can be handed to individuals who persistently engage in criminal activity and anti-social behaviour.

A CBO is only made in addition to a sentence that has already been enforced or if the individual has already received a conditional discharge (an order made by the court ruling that the offender will not be sentenced unless a further offence is committed).

The order will last between one and two years for under 18s and those aged 18 years or over will receive the order for a minimum of two years.

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Dispersal order

Police have the authority to disperse groups of two or more people in any public place if their presence has resulted or is likely to result in any members of the public feeling intimidated, harassed or alarmed.

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Community remedy

Community remedy is an out of court alternative to dealing with less serious crimes such as criminal damage, theft and minor assaults.

It involves victims and members of the community working together to agree a positive solution to a crime. This can include the offender apologising to the victim, repairing any damage done or seeking advice about their behaviour.

To receive a community remedy resolution, the offender must admit guilt and agree to the resolution.

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