What is a caution?
A caution is used to deal with those who have committed less serious offences and admit their guilt.  Cautions allow the police to deal with persons quickly and simply by removing the need for the case to be heard in court.  The person will be warned that any further offences will be taken to court.

When is a simple caution used?
Cautions are given to those over 10 years old where 

  • There is evidence that the person is guilty
  • The person admits to committing the crime
  • The person agrees to being cautioned – if they do not agree then they are likely to be charged

What are conditional cautions?
Conditional cautions impose rules and restrictions which must not be broken. Those cautioned must agree to change their behaviour by for example getting treatment for drug addiction or agreeing to fix damage caused. A caution is not a criminal conviction, but it could be used as evidence of bad character if you go to court for another crime.

Does a caution go on someone’s criminal record?
A caution is not a criminal conviction so will not go on a person’s criminal record. It will, however, be recorded on the police database and may be considered in court if the person is tried for another offence. Cautions can show on standard and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.

This page was updated on November 2018