Peterborough City Councillor (after a 'dust up' in the Council Chamber) has formally accepted guilt of offences, and variously been served with and accepted a Conditional Caution and/or a Community Resolution. The councillor join a list of current and former Peterborough City Councillors to grace the datasets of the Police National Computer. But what is involved and why is it really not a good idea, without first taking criminal legal advice to accept a caution or community resolution even if police say it isn't a conviction? This is a brief inconclusive guide, but it is always best to get criminal legal advice before taking the Caution or Community Resolution.
Who is it issued by and how can I contact them?Conditional cautions can only be authorised by the CPS Crown prosecution Service who then grant authority to the police to issue – contact the administering force.
Does it involve guilt?Yes – you are asked to sign a document confirming your admission to the offence as well as details of the offence, informed consent and the conditions of the caution.
Is it recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC)?Yes (especially if it relates to a recordable offence).
Is it classed as a conviction?No. (But it has to be disclosed when travelling to the USA as it is considered never spent and in addition a full VISA must be applied for and approved prior to travel. [Waiver and ETA programs are not available].
How long will it be on my record?Information is retained on the Police National Computer even after it has become spent. In effect the conditional caution is a suspension of prosecution but if conditions are not complied with a prosecution may well go ahead. Also spent cautions can be used in future criminal proceedings as evidence of character.
When does it become spent?Three months from the date of issue (or when it ceases to have effect, if earlier).
When do I have to declare it?Conditional cautions now fall under the protection of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act so you don’t have to disclose unless it is for an occupation which is an exception to the Act, like working with children.
Is it disclosed on DBS checks?Yes, it is disclosed by both the standard and enhanced checks, unless it is eligible for filtering. It will not be disclosed on a basic check.
What guidance is there on fair process?
- CPS guidance is quite comprehensive
- GOV.UK information on police cautions, warnings and penalty notices for minor crimes.
Do I have the right to appeal and what is the process?By signing the document which gives your informed consent, you are accepting the caution and so there is no formal appeal route.
If you wish to complain about the decision or how the case was handled you need to make a complaint to the Chief Constable or Commissioner of the administering force.
What are the implications for life in the community?Conditions attached can be reparative, rehabilitative or (in rare cases) punitive – see CPS guidance. It is not a criminal conviction but it does form part of a criminal record so you will sometimes have to disclose when asked by employers, particularly before it is spent. It will not affect your chances of getting a mortgage. You do not need to disclose it to insurers once it’s spent.
Who is it issued by and how can I contact them?Issued by the police – contact the administering force.
Does it involve guilt?Yes – you have to make a clear and reliable admission.
Is it recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC)?Yes (if it relates to a recordable offence). A facility is available on the PNC which allows an entry to be recorded which does not constitute a ‘criminal record’ but is accessible for police information.
Is it classed as a conviction?No.
How long will it be on my record?Although a community resolution order does not result in a criminal record, the information is still recorded on the PNC and can still be used and taken into consideration if further offences are committed.
When does it become spent?N/A
When do I have to declare it?It isn’t a caution or a conviction, so isn’t formally covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
Is it disclosed on DBS checks?Not on a standard check. BUT It might be disclosed as part of an enhanced check in the ‘relevant information’ section, i.e. the offence has a bearing on the kind of work you are applying for.
Do I have the right to appeal and what is the process?There is no formal process for rescinding a community resolution order once it has been administered. If you wish to complain about the decision or how the case was handled you need to make a complaint to the Chief Constable or Commissioner of the administering force.
Each police force should be willing to receive requests for community resolution orders to be ‘expunged’ as part of their ownership as Data Controllers of the PNC.
However, this is only done in exceptional circumstances, particularly where a significant amount of time has passed since receiving the community resolution order.
Other informationA ‘community resolution’ resolves a minor offence or anti-social behaviour incident through informal agreement between the parties involved, as opposed to progression through the traditional criminal justice process.
It is primarily aimed at first time offenders where:-
- there has been an admission of guilt
- the victims views have been taken into account
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