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No more cautions for knife or serious sex crimes
12:49pm Tuesday 1st October 2013 in News
THE use of cautions in Essex is being reviewed amid fears sex offenders and thugs with knives are let off lightly.
Following the announcement, by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, about the use of cautions being scaled back police and crime commissioner Nick Alston revealed a review is already taking place here.
He said: “Lindsay Whitehouse [deputy police and crime commissioner], is now leading a group of criminal justice experts to review the use of cautions here in Essex.
“We are one of the first counties anywhere in the country to introduce an independent review.
"I am particularly delighted our magistrates are fully involved in this process and confident Essex is leading the way.
“We need justice to deliver real and meaningful outcomes both for victims and to prevent re-offending by perpetrators.
"Cautions are an important part of the criminal justice process, and I welcome all the national and local work to ensure that they are used appropriately.”
Mr Alston has had many discussions with the South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre about appropriate punishments for sex offenders and is not against cautions but wants to make sure they are not being used for the wrong reasons.
Assistant Chief Constable Julia Wortley said: “In the right circumstances, with certain types of less serious offence, cautioning an offender is still an important option to consider.
“Cautions are used when an offender has already admitted their guilt.
"Using cautions to deal with certain low level crimes is a long established option.
“On the rare occasions when a caution is being considered for a more serious offence, this is referred by the police to the Crown Prosecution Service for their independent determination."
However some of the power is set to be taken out of the hands of police forces and the Crown Prosecution Service with new legislation.
Mr Grayling said: “I am scrapping simple cautions for all of the most serious offences and a range of other offences that devastate lives and tear apart communities.”
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