Invalidating a police caution
Per the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, simple cautions, reprimands and final warnings become spent (meaning that they do not need to be disclosed, unless applying for particular types of work) immediately, and conditional cautions become spent after 3 months.Cautions will appear on a DBS certificate until 6 years have passed (or 2 years if the person was under 18 at the time of caution) provided the offence is not on the prescribed list of offences that will never be filtered from a criminal record check.The information is kept for police operational reasons and in the interest of prevention and detection of crime.It is likely the practice of using police cautions began early in the nineteenth century.Anyone who has accepted a caution for an offence involving violence could also find it difficult to apply for a shotgun licence.
is a formal warning given by the police to anyone aged 10 years or over and who has admitted that they are guilty of a minor crime.In 1978 the Home Office issued its first circular to bring about consistency in the use of cautions for juveniles, and in 1985 for adults.From 1995 cautions were recorded on the Police National Computer, and it was recommended that cautions should be retained for 5 years, though each police force could follow its own guidelines.While a police caution is not technically classed as a criminal conviction, the details are retained by the police for future reference and can be taken into account by a magistrate or a judge if the person is convicted of a further offence in the future.
Cautions may be disclosed to current or prospective employers and must be declared if the person is involved in certain roles such as working with children or vulnerable adults.
Where the available evidence does not meet the standard normally required to bring a prosecution, a caution cannot be administered.