§ Mr. Wheeler
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to publish his proposals for the creation of more constant cautioning practices by the police in England and Wales.
§ Mr. Brittan
I am today publishing a consultation document "Cautioning by the Police". Copies are being placed in the House Library and the Vote Office. The consultation document consists of the report of a working group of Home Office officials and chief officers of police which was charged with devising a basis for more consistent and effective police cautioning practice; draft guidelines to chief officers drawn up by that group; and a summary of research by the Home Office research and planning unit into existing cautioning practice of police forces which informed the discussions of the working group.
The consultation document is being circulated to agencies working in the criminal justice system and others with an interest in cautioning inviting comments on the proposed new guidelines.
I am grateful to chief officers of police for the ready cooperation they have given to this work and for their acceptance of the importance of effectiveness and consistency in the use of the caution. The Government believe that the caution has an important role to play as an 382W alternative to prosecution—particularly in the case of juveniles—and that used appropriately it can contribute to increased confidence in the application of the criminal law. I look forward to receiving comments on the consultation document, which will be taken into account before the guidelines are issued in their final form.
Further copies of the consultation document may be obtained from:
- Room 530,
- F2 Division,
- Home Office,
- 50 Queen Anne's Gate,
- SW1H 9AT.
- (Tel. 01–213 7119)