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Legality of police issuing inappropriate cautions

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One for m'learned friends.

A caution is a serious thing. It as an admission of guilt leading to a criminal record, albeit without trial or punishment, beyond the establishment of the record itself.

Is it an Offence for a police officer to persuade an arrestee to accept a caution for an offence which that officer suspects not to have been committed?

If not, is there anything in police internal procedural regulations that would lead to disciplinary measures for such an act, were it to have been found to happen, perhaps as the result of a formal complaint?

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One for m'learned friends.

A caution is a serious thing. It as an admission of guilt leading to a criminal record, albeit without trial or punishment, beyond the establishment of the record itself.

Is it an Offence for a police officer to persuade an arrestee to accept a caution for an offence which that officer suspects not to have been committed?

If not, is there anything in police internal procedural regulations that would lead to disciplinary measures for such an act, were it to have been found to happen, perhaps as the result of a formal complaint?

My mate got stopped in London Victoria section 44. The officers involved got crappy local resolution because they wiped the cctv footage!:)

Sadly some officers do as the please and get away with it. Come on how many London Met officers in the City of Westminster have links with organised gangs? I bet you loads. Are they disciplined? Are they dismissed?No.

Police maybe different in other parts but remember City of Westminster police has the lowest detection rate. The bizarre thing is the area(including Soho) is covered by 24hr cctv. As there are corrupt politicians. There are corrupt police.

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even the IPCC isnt a safe place to turn anymore given it as been shown they use ex police officers to report many of thier allegations. Same bet to assume all police are corrupt and your screwed if they take a disliking to you.

Technically you might have an abuse of process case if you wanted to fight it but its unlikely you would win only because of who you are choosing to take on. The police are the biggest orgonised gang around

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You could complain to the IPCC but I doubt that you'd get very far except for the fact that the complaint is on the Police officer's file.

You could make a complaint that the relevant officer has committed the common law offence of Misfeasance in Public Office. Again, you wouldn't get very far.

A senior officer could withdraw the caution if it was manifestly unjust. Apart from that it would be an application for Judicial Review to have the Caution quashed. You would need very good grounds though.

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Some advice please: Almost 10 years ago I overtook a car in Shepherds Bush, because I was in a hurry, after a long days work, and in doing so I went the wrong side of a pedestrian refuge island. My bad luck was that the car I overtook, which was crawling along, was full of coppers, and they radioed their mates who stopped me at the end of the road. They then gave me a caution.

On 2 subsequent occasions I've been stopped for speeding, but they never had any equipment to prove that I was speeding, it was just a case of bad luck that I was accellerating to the highway, or towards Heathrow early in the morning, and got stopped and told off. On neither of these occasions did I get "done", or cautioned, just bollocked, if you know what I mean. Probably because they had no proof. On the last occasion however, the copper asked me when looking at my drivers license, if I'd been arrested before, which really scared me, because I haven't, but it made me wonder what the hell kind of info do they hold on me.

Any thoughts? Met012?

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Some advice please: Almost 10 years ago I overtook a car in Shepherds Bush, because I was in a hurry, after a long days work, and in doing so I went the wrong side of a pedestrian refuge island. My bad luck was that the car I overtook, which was crawling along, was full of coppers, and they radioed their mates who stopped me at the end of the road. They then gave me a caution.

On 2 subsequent occasions I've been stopped for speeding, but they never had any equipment to prove that I was speeding, it was just a case of bad luck that I was accellerating to the highway, or towards Heathrow early in the morning, and got stopped and told off. On neither of these occasions did I get "done", or cautioned, just bollocked, if you know what I mean. Probably because they had no proof. On the last occasion however, the copper asked me when looking at my drivers license, if I'd been arrested before, which really scared me, because I haven't, but it made me wonder what the hell kind of info do they hold on me.

Any thoughts? Met012?

If you were never arrested the caution you were given will have been an informal "don't do it again" type. It's not the sort of caution we're talking about. They will have just been fishing in the speeding instances. Sounds like you've no police record at all.

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One for m'learned friends.

A caution is a serious thing. It as an admission of guilt leading to a criminal record, albeit without trial or punishment, beyond the establishment of the record itself.

Is it an Offence for a police officer to persuade an arrestee to accept a caution for an offence which that officer suspects not to have been committed?

If not, is there anything in police internal procedural regulations that would lead to disciplinary measures for such an act, were it to have been found to happen, perhaps as the result of a formal complaint?

The rules are that they have to have sufficient evidence to go to court and have a good chance of winning, and that you have to have already admitted the offence BEFORE they offer the caution.

i.e they can't offer a caution to someone who's denying everything, as it would be seen as an inducement to confess to something you haven't done, since if you're looking at a long drawn out court case with possible jail time if they find you guilty, a copper saying sign this and you can piss off now, would seem a good deal even if you were innocent.

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Some advice please: Almost 10 years ago I overtook a car in Shepherds Bush, because I was in a hurry, after a long days work, and in doing so I went the wrong side of a pedestrian refuge island. My bad luck was that the car I overtook, which was crawling along, was full of coppers, and they radioed their mates who stopped me at the end of the road. They then gave me a caution.

On 2 subsequent occasions I've been stopped for speeding, but they never had any equipment to prove that I was speeding, it was just a case of bad luck that I was accellerating to the highway, or towards Heathrow early in the morning, and got stopped and told off. On neither of these occasions did I get "done", or cautioned, just bollocked, if you know what I mean. Probably because they had no proof. On the last occasion however, the copper asked me when looking at my drivers license, if I'd been arrested before, which really scared me, because I haven't, but it made me wonder what the hell kind of info do they hold on me.

Any thoughts? Met012?

It's probably a routine question so they can work out if they might have you on their system already. They can't tell from your name or license and if they've already checked you out then there is no point asking you!

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The rules are that they have to have sufficient evidence to go to court and have a good chance of winning, and that you have to have already admitted the offence BEFORE they offer the caution.

i.e they can't offer a caution to someone who's denying everything, as it would be seen as an inducement to confess to something you haven't done, since if you're looking at a long drawn out court case with possible jail time if they find you guilty, a copper saying sign this and you can piss off now, would seem a good deal even if you were innocent.

Thanks for the clarification 992005.

For the record I have no personal problems regarding the cautioning. If that were the case I would be consulting a solicitor PDQ.

My interest in this relates to why a caution was issued to an arrestee on day one of the new law, i.e. the launch raid at Newham.

Either the girl was CED (shorthand for the purposes of this argument, coerced, threatened or deceived as per new law) or she was not.

If she was it begs three questions. Firstly why the police allowed her to continue to be abused because it suited them to defer the raid until launch day? Secondly why the other two arrestees were not cautioned? Thirdly why bother with cautions when strict liability apparently guarantees conviction anyway with all the opprobrium of a public trial and punishment?

If she wasn't why did they bully the arrestee into accepting a caution for an offence he hadn't committed.

As I see it plod have worked out that the legislation is defanged because strict liability will only apply if the girl has been CED, and they know full well that they will find precious few of those.

So their current tactic is to bully naive punters into accepting cautions unnecessarily, and reduce demand be scaring off other unsavvy punters who quite understandably don't want a caution on their record, but are not sure how they can avoid it or, worse still a trial, if caught up in a raid. Hence the high profile raid on launch day.

Our response should be to suggest that punters call the police bluff and refuse to accept cautions as long as they are reasonably sure that that the girl was not CED. Pound to a penny CPS will fold.

Once plod realises that savvy punters are wise to this highly dubious and unethical tactic, plod will shelve it and, who knows, perhaps even get on with some real police work.

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Thanks for the clarification 992005.

My interest in this relates to why a caution was issued to an arrestee on day one of the new law, i.e. the launch raid at Newham.

Either the girl was CED (shorthand for the purposes of this argument, coerced, threatened or deceived as per new law) or she was not.

If she was it begs three questions. Firstly why the police allowed her to continue to be abused because it suited them to defer the raid until launch day? Secondly why the other two arrestees were not cautioned? Thirdly why bother with cautions when strict liability apparently guarantees conviction anyway with all the opprobrium of a public trial and punishment?

If she wasn't why did they bully the arrestee into accepting a caution for an offence he hadn't committed.

I can see no evidence that the caution related to a strict liability offence. In fact, all the evidence suggests otherwise to me. It may, for example, have related to a minor drugs offence.

Just because the details appear in a sun article which gives prominence to a DI's beliefs and, on first sight, may lead some to conclude that the two are directly linked, does not mean that this is actually the case. If you were cynical, you may think that the raid had been deliberately stage managed to occur on 1st April, to coincide with the introduction of the new strict liability law, particularly with the invitation to the press to attend. If one of the purposes of the raid was publicity for the new Act, it would clearly have been very helpful for there to have been a S14 caution. Interestingly, the article has only appeared on the internet, and not in the newspaper itself. If it had been a S14 caution, I would have expected the latter. But hopefully, in due course, the full facts will emerge.

I am always cautious about coming to conclusions as a result of reading any articles or press releases published in newspapers. It may be a S14 caution and it may not be. Who knows????

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I can see no evidence that the caution related to a strict liability offence. In fact, all the evidence suggests otherwise to me. It may, for example, have related to a minor drugs offence.

Just because the details appear in a sun article which gives prominence to a DI's beliefs and, on first sight, may lead some to conclude that the two are directly linked, does not mean that this is actually the case. If you were cynical, you may think that the raid had been deliberately stage managed to occur on 1st April, to coincide with the introduction of the new strict liability law, particularly with the invitation to the press to attend. If one of the purposes of the raid was publicity for the new Act, it would clearly have been very helpful for there to have been a S14 caution. Interestingly, the article has only appeared on the internet, and not in the newspaper itself. If it had been a S14 caution, I would have expected the latter. But hopefully, in due course, the full facts will emerge.

I am always cautious about coming to conclusions as a result of reading any articles or press releases published in newspapers. It may be a S14 caution and it may not be. Who knows????

It would be a huge scoop if you could find evidence of that. The articles (not just in the Sun but on the bbc website) all clearly state that he was arrested on suspicion of paying a forced woman and accepted a caution....the clear inference is that the caution was for this offence, and I would actually be very surprised if the police mislead us to that degree, since the BBC wouldn't have printed it like that if they'd been told the full facts.

Is it possible to contact the police as a private person, and get them to say with no possible ambiguity that the caution was for this new offence?

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Thanks for the clarification 992005.

For the record I have no personal problems regarding the cautioning. If that were the case I would be consulting a solicitor PDQ.

My interest in this relates to why a caution was issued to an arrestee on day one of the new law, i.e. the launch raid at Newham.

Either the girl was CED (shorthand for the purposes of this argument, coerced, threatened or deceived as per new law) or she was not.

If she was it begs three questions. Firstly why the police allowed her to continue to be abused because it suited them to defer the raid until launch day? Secondly why the other two arrestees were not cautioned? Thirdly why bother with cautions when strict liability apparently guarantees conviction anyway with all the opprobrium of a public trial and punishment?

If she wasn't why did they bully the arrestee into accepting a caution for an offence he hadn't committed.

As I see it plod have worked out that the legislation is defanged because strict liability will only apply if the girl has been CED, and they know full well that they will find precious few of those.

So their current tactic is to bully naive punters into accepting cautions unnecessarily, and reduce demand be scaring off other unsavvy punters who quite understandably don't want a caution on their record, but are not sure how they can avoid it or, worse still a trial, if caught up in a raid. Hence the high profile raid on launch day.

Our response should be to suggest that punters call the police bluff and refuse to accept cautions as long as they are reasonably sure that that the girl was not CED. Pound to a penny CPS will fold.

Once plod realises that savvy punters are wise to this highly dubious and unethical tactic, plod will shelve it and, who knows, perhaps even get on with some real police work.

Most of the points that you make have already been discussed on a couple of the more recent threads.

I think that the majority of punters who have read the relevant threads in the Legalities and Legislation section have probably already come to the conclusion that in the extremely unlikely event that they are ever arrested and offered a Caution it would be inadvisable to accept it. I agree with you that there is a high chance that the CPS will back down.

You only have to look at the Newham case where one guy accepted a Caution. Apparently there was no evidence of coercion, duress or threats. The Police's case appeared to be based on cramped conditions and a dubious reference to deception. According to the Sun the premises were still open the next day - so no Closure Notice was issued.

The guy was foolish to accept the Caution, assuming that it related to section 53A and not another offence. There is no way that the CPS would have wanted to have prosecuted on the dubious grounds put forward by the Police.

You should not assume that strict liability guarantees conviction. Strict liability only applies to knowledge as to coercion etc. There are other defences: no payment or promise of payment, no "sexual services", lack of a "coercer", the need for coercion etc and for the girl to attend court to give evidence. All of these have previously been discussed.

The Police and CPS have already said that they are not keen on the new section. It is going to be difficult to prosecute. They will save that for clearcut cases - probably a foreign girl physically threatened by a violent pimp (who probably himself will be foreign).

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If you were cynical, you may think that the raid had been deliberately stage managed to occur on 1st April, to coincide with the introduction of the new strict liability law, particularly with the invitation to the press to attend.

I don't think that it's cynical to believe that. It's a logical conclusion. I suspect that you do as well :D.

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Hadn't considered that it might have been for another offence.

Sorry for the repetition; just clarifying my thoughts in an area with which I'm not familiar.

It certainly suits the police position for it to not be clear whether or not the caution was for S53A. Keeps punters guessing.

Think it is easy to say don't accept the caution. But for punters who have not been on the wrong side of the law before, who may not fully understand what the caution results in, and who perhaps have a lot to lose by being outed, may be willing to sign up just to get the hell out of the station there and then. This may be what the police are playing for when out on a fishing trip.

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Curiouser and Curiouser

I've just checked the sun's article again and I cannot find any reference to a caution, just that three punters were arrested.

Arrhh .... I now see that the BBC article states that 3 men were questioned on suspicion of paying for the sexual services of a prostitute who was forced. In the following paragraph it indicates that one of them was given a caution.

Still, I do seem to recollect also reading about a caution being given in the sun's piece. Do others share that opinion, or is it just me. :rolleyes:

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It would be a huge scoop if you could find evidence of that. The articles (not just in the Sun but on the bbc website) all clearly state that he was arrested on suspicion of paying a forced woman and accepted a caution....the clear inference is that the caution was for this offence, and I would actually be very surprised if the police mislead us to that degree, since the BBC wouldn't have printed it like that if they'd been told the full facts.

Is it possible to contact the police as a private person, and get them to say with no possible ambiguity that the caution was for this new offence?

The freedom of information Act perhaps, providing the question was general enough to not identify specific people it should pass muster. e.g. How many cautions have been issued under ... Perhaps wait until the month end.

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Curiouser and Curiouser

I've just checked the sun's article again and I cannot find any reference to a caution, just that three punters were arrested.

Arrhh .... I now see that the BBC article states that 3 men were questioned on suspicion of paying for the sexual services of a prostitute who was forced. In the following paragraph it indicates that one of them was given a caution.

Still, I do seem to recollect also reading about a caution being given in the sun's piece. Do others share that opinion, or is it just me. :rolleyes:

Correction. I now see that I also read about the caution not in the sun but, in fact, in the Newham Recorder. Apologies for the confusion!!

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Curiouser and Curiouser

I've just checked the sun's article again and I cannot find any reference to a caution, just that three punters were arrested.

Arrhh .... I now see that the BBC article states that 3 men were questioned on suspicion of paying for the sexual services of a prostitute who was forced. In the following paragraph it indicates that one of them was given a caution.

Still, I do seem to recollect also reading about a caution being given in the sun's piece. Do others share that opinion, or is it just me. :rolleyes:

You are correct. The original 1 April article definitely referred to the Caution as did similar articles appearing on 1/2 April. There is reference to the Caution in the "Media Coverage" thread.

The "revised " article dated 7 April makes no mention of the Caution.

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You are correct. The original 1 April article definitely referred to the Caution as did similar articles appearing on 1/2 April. There is reference to the Caution in the "Media Coverage" thread.

The "revised " article dated 7 April makes no mention of the Caution.

In that case, then, I wonder why the sun went to the trouble of "revising" the article on 7 April. Unfortunately, one can only speculate. e.g.

Was the caution reversed?

Was it incorrectly reported initially?

Does the piece have more impact and act as a greater deterrent if 3 punters were reported as having been arrested, rather than one person having been cautioned?

Was it just a clerical error or simple editing?

Why haven't others revised their articles?

Have I been watching too much television?

Still seems a bit curious to me, though, but I don't suppose we will ever know the answer..

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They still don't say what the caution was for. Looks like an incomplete story.

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Is it an Offence for a police officer to persuade an arrestee to accept a caution for an offence which that officer suspects not to have been committed?

If not, is there anything in police internal procedural regulations that would lead to disciplinary measures for such an act, were it to have been found to happen, perhaps as the result of a formal complaint?

...were it to have been found to happen... are the magic words here! It will not be found tro have happened!

In the "bad old days" the boys in blue most certainly mis-used the TIC system to improve their statistics and get the Super his QPM.

Formal cautions today are supposed (can someone currently in practice quote the rules?) to be under some degree of control - I think that the "Officer in Case" has to get the approval of an Inspector to a caution, but, a caution scores the same points as a conviction, but is much cheaper, so, yes, I'm completely sure it happens.

Years ago, in slightly unusual circumstances I received a police report on a road traffic offence, which concluded (quite honestly) with the traditional words, "and he admitted the offence." The accused was ready to accept (probably quite severe) punishment, but I had to advise that in this particular case the offender had complete immunity, and had committed no offence whatsoever. I could have stifled my opinion, and seen somewhat dangerous driving punished, but I wasn't working in a statistics driven environment.

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Formal cautions today are supposed (can someone currently in practice quote the rules?) to be under some degree of control - I think that the "Officer in Case" has to get the approval of an Inspector to a caution, but, a caution scores the same points as a conviction, but is much cheaper, so, yes, I'm completely sure it happens.

Here you go:

"When considering the suitability of an offence for disposal by simple caution, the decision should be referred to an officer of at least Sergeant rank (who may or may not be a Custody Officer) for approval. This officer must be unrelated to the investigation of the offence."

Home Office Circular 016/2008

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l saw some police in my town of chelmsford and they arrested 2 men for having a fight this was about 4.am.we have a lot of police in our town but it is mainly to do with troublemakers being thrown out of clubs

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assume all police are corrupt

And if a comment was made that all prostitutes had HIV and were IV drug users you would be up in arms shouting "Taring with brush etc"

The police are only a problem to people if you break the law, they don't generally cause issues for law abiding people.

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