The Police Caution

The police caution, is the formulation of words that the police use when someone is suspected of a crime. The police must state the caution before any questions about an offence can be asked. The CODE C Guidance to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) states the following:

A person whom there are grounds to suspect of an offence, see Note 10A, must be cautioned before any questions about an offence, or further questions if the answers provide the grounds for suspicion, are put to them if either the suspect’s answers or silence, (i.e. failure or refusal to answer or answer satisfactorily) may be given in evidence to a court in a prosecution.

The police do not need to make an arrest in order to caution someone, often people will be interviewed by the police as “volunteers” and will not be placed under arrest. Prior to the commencement of an interview a suspect will be “cautioned”, namely read their rights. The caution’s wordings is as follows:

You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in Court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.

If a suspect is being interviewed as a volunteer, if they decide to leave their “voluntary” interview, they will most likely be arrested in order for their questioning to continue.

Being arrested does carry some significant impacts, most notably in terms of any long-term consequences, the police will often create an arrest record which will be logged onto the Police National Computer (PNC). A PNC record can be disclosed on an enhanced DBS certificate.

Simple Police Cautions

A caution, or a simple police caution, is very difference from “the police caution” – a simple caution is record of an offence where an individual has admitted an allegation. Typically they will be issued for low level offending such as assault, shoplifting, minor public order offences, and low-level harassment cases.

A police caution will be retained on the PNC for 100 years, unless it is deleted, and can be disclosed in relation to certain background checks.

Along with the simple adult police caution, there are also conditional cautions, which attach some conditions to the caution, such as paying a fine or making an apology. There are also youth cautions and youth conditional cautions for offenders under the age of 18.

Police Records Deletion Solicitors

If you have any police records that you would like to have deleted, we will be able to help.

We have extensive experience of successfully applying for the deletion of police cautionsPNC arrest recordslocal/PND records, Penalty Notices for Disorder (PNDs), and youth disposals.

We also have significant experience of appealing unfairly disclosed information on enhanced DBS certificates, and also challenging DBS barring applications.

Please get in touch to arrange an initial consultation.

Unfortunately we do not offer legal aid, but can usually charge fixed fees.