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Justice secretary says cautions to be scrapped for serious offences

Justice secretary Chris Grayling has said that the government will ban the police from issuing unconditional cautions to suspects who admit 'indictable-only' offences.  These are offences that can only be tried in the Crown Court such as manslaughter, robbery and rape.  It is also proposed that unconditional cautions will be scrapped for other serious offences, specifically possession of an offensive weapon, supplying class A drugs and sex offences against children.

An unconditional caution can be issued at the discretion of the police to a suspect who admits guilt.  According to Ministry of Justice figures, 167,758 simple cautions were issued to adults in 2012 of which  493 related to 'indictable-only' matters. 962 were for possession of knives, 1,543 for possession of weapons, seven for child pornography and prostitution, 1,560 for cruelty to or neglect of children, 268 for possessing indecent photographs of children and 54 for supplying or offering to supply Class A drugs.

Mr Grayling said that the fact some of the most serious crimes resulted in "just a slap of the wrist" was "unacceptable and unfair".


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