§ Mr. Dobson
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what procedures are followed in formal cautioning by the Metropolitan police;
(2) whether formal cautioning by the Metropolitan police involves an acknowledgement of guilt;
(3) how formal cautions by the Metropolitan police are recorded; and how long they remain on record in each form and place of record.
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
The criteria for the cautioning of offenders are set out in Home Office circular 14/1985, which provides that a person may be cautioned by the police only in cases where he admits the offence in question. the circular advises that this should normally be done in person by a police officer of the rank of inspector or above at a police station. Records of cautions should be kept locally and, in the case of offenders who have no other record, the the length of time for which these records are kept should be limited to three years or, in the case of a juvenile, until he has reached the age of 17, whichever is the later date. I understand from the Commissioner that the Metropolitan police follows this guidance.