Suffolk: More than 19,000 offences dealt with by a caution, warning or reprimand, new figures show

Operation Statesman is proving to be a success

Operation Statesman is proving to be a success - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

Police in Suffolk have issued more than 19,000 cautions, warnings and reprimands for criminal offences ranging from theft to threats to kill since 2008, new figures have revealed.

Officers last night said they have to take a number of factors into consideration when deciding how to treat individual cases and that issuing cautions should not be taken lightly.

The data, seen in a Freedom of Information request, has also shown the number of cautions, reprimands and warnings issued has decreased year-on-year since 2008 – from 5,685 in 2008/09 to 3,147 in 2011/12.

So far in 2012/13, the total number issued stands at 2,643.

Assistant Chief Constable at Suffolk police, Tim Newcomb, said: “Cautions are just one of the many outcomes that are available to us, alongside Restorative Justice, Penalty Notices and charging offenders to court.

“There is clear guidance for police when dealing with criminal cases. The decision making process focuses on the victim, the circumstances and type of offence and how serious it is.

“We also assess the offender’s history and the views of, and impact on our communities.

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“Finally we consider any local, regional or national guidance and direction. A decision in some cases will be made in consultation with or by partners including the Youth Offending Team or Crown Prosecution Service as appropriate.”

According to the figures, the most common incidents which are dealt with in this way are shoplifting, causing public fear, alarm or distress and assault with injury.

However the data also shows that offences such as exposure and voyeurism, blackmail and kidnapping have been dealt with in the same way.

Mr Newcomb added: “A caution is a valid means of disposal in any criminal investigation and should not be taken lightly.”

In total, 19,213 offences have been dealt with through the use of a warning, caution or reprimand.