What Is a Formal Caution?


Quick Answer

A formal caution is usually given by the police to a person who admits to committing a criminal offence, but the police do not want to prosecute him. It is an alternative to prosecution where the police feel that it is more suitable to dispose of the matter without initiating criminal proceedings. However, if a person is offered a formal caution and he refuses it, he can still be prosecuted.

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Full Answer

According to the BBC, there are rising concerns about the number of cautions being handed out within England and Wales since the government commenced a review of the process in 2013. However, statistics indicate that the number of cautions being issued has decreased drastically by about 42 percent over five years since 2007. Once an offender's case is considered for a caution, he is invited to an interview by a council official where the officer explains that the conduct is an offence but the council is considering a caution instead of prosecution. If the offender agrees to being cautioned, he will sign three copies of a caution form after which he will be sanctioned. Although cautions are not convictions, they will always remain on a person's record but may be removed under exceptional circumstances.

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