Metropolitan Police issues 29,000 cautions in a year

 

Nearly 30,000 cautions were handed to criminals by the UK's biggest police force in the year to March for offences including robbery, drug trafficking and rape, new figures revealed today.

According to figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request by London Assembly member Tony Arbour, the Metropolitan Police issued 28,998 cautions in the period, a quarter of all solved crimes in the capital.

Among the cautions issued, 5,843 were given for violent attacks, 165 were handed out for sexual offences and five were for rape.

Elsewhere, 180 offenders were cautioned for grievous bodily harm or wounding, 131 for robbery and 318 for drug trafficking.

Mr Arbour, a Conservative representing South West London on the Assembly, said: "The whole point of the British legal system is that justice should be seen to be done.

"However, a quarter of all solved crimes in London escape punishment.

"The 29,000 cautions and youth warnings given out in private during the last year demonstrate that criminals are getting away with increasingly serious crimes.

"The Crown Prosecution Service is not doing Londoners a service by allowing people who admit their guilt not to go to court.

"It is frustrating for police officers to find that time spent trawling through evidence and catching criminals is ultimately wasted because villains are not brought to justice.

"It is unfair on victims, and the fact that a law-abiding resident will receive the same or even worse punishment for minor traffic offences as drug traffickers, robbers and rapists is simply outrageous."

Police handed out 205,700 cautions nationwide in the 12 months ending in September 2012, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Justice.

It represented a 12% decrease compared with the previous 12 months, and a 44% fall from the 12 months to September 2007 when the use of cautions peaked at 367,300.

Last month, Policing Minister Damian Green announced a review of guidelines for issuing police cautions as part of a wider crackdown.

Mr Green said the Government's goal was to see the use of cautions restricted to ensure serious criminals would never escape punishment.

Javed Khan, chief executive of the independent charity Victim Support, said: "Victims across London tell us they want the response to fit the crime and for that response to make sure the offender doesn't do it again.

"Although it is ultimately up to the police to decide on when to give a caution, victims must have decisions explained to them in order to retain their confidence in the police and other criminal justice agencies.

"The police need to be clear on when it is appropriate to give a caution - for example, this is not likely to be right for most violent and sexual offences."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links