What is a Caution, Reprimand or Final Warning?

January 29th, 2016 by Jonathan Bazely

Below are some general guidelines designed to assist with deciding if an individual has received a caution, reprimand, final warning or a conviction. A majority of cautions, reprimands or warnings will become instantly ‘spent’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. This means that they will not appear on a Basic Police check, however they may appear on an Enhanced or Standard Level criminal record check (subject to the DBS Filtering Rules). There is no exhaustive list that we can provide to confirm what an offence may be classed as. If an applicant was provided with any paperwork at the time, this may confirm the outcome of the offence.

A ‘simple caution’ (for those over the age of 18 at the time of offence)

If the individual accepts responsibility for the offence they may be given a simple caution. This will normally take place at a Police Station and the individual will have signed a document accepting responsibility, although a copy of this document is not necessarily given to the individual. The individuals fingerprints and photograph will be taken by the Police.

Conditional Cautions or Youth Conditional Cautions

Conditional cautions are issued for certain offences where an individual has admitted the offence and there is sufficient evidence to charge them. The Crown Prosecution Services (CPS) must agree for this type of caution, and there will be conditions attached which the individual must meet. These normally become spent after three months.

Youth cautions (formerly reprimands or final warnings issued to those aged under 18)

A youth caution is a formal verbal warning given by a police officer to a young person who admits they are guilty of a minor offence. They will normally take place at a Police station with the parent or legal guardian present. The individual will most likely be given a leaflet or additional information about the implications of receiving a final warning or formal reprimand.

If an individual is given a final warning they will be referred to a Youth Offending Team who will most likely visit the individual to assess if they require a program of rehabilitation or education. If the individual offends again within a two year period they will be required to attend court.

There is no exhaustive list that we can provide to confirm what an offence may be classed as. If an applicant was provided with any paperwork at the time, this may confirm the outcome of the offence.

Other cautions or warnings

These do not form part of an individual’s Police National Computer (PNC) record and do not need to be disclosed unless specifically asked for.

  • Verbal/street warnings
  • Harassment warnings
  • Cannabis warnings
  • Cautions issued by authorities other than the police (e.g. local council).
  • Penalty notices for disorder can also be issued for an individual over the age of 18.

The issuing authority will ask the individual to sign the penalty notice ticket and assuming the penalty is paid, it will not result in a criminal conviction. There is a facility which allows the Police to record these other cautions on the PNC and refer to them in the future. The information may be included on certain types of criminal record checks as ‘approved additional information’ if the Police feel it relates to the job role being undertaken.

How is a conviction different?

A conviction is assigned when a court of law finds and individual guilty of a crime.

More information:

What are the different levels of DBS check?

Should I choose Basic, Standard or Enhanced DBS checks for my employees?

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