HC Deb 12 December 1978 vol 960 cc96-7W
Mrs. Wise

asked the Attorney-General for what categories of offence there is any general policy that first offenders should not be prosecuted.

Mr. John:

I have been asked to reply.

Responsibility for prosecution rests with the various prosecuting authorities, whose decisions are in general based on the circumstances of individual cases.

It is a common practice to caution rather than prosecute juvenile offenders on the first occasion on which they come to the notice of the police.

A woman who has not previously been convicted of loitering or soliciting for the purpose of prostitution is not charged with an offence under the Street Offences Act 1959 unless she has been cautioned by the police on at least two occasions.