Can I get Police Cautions and ‘No Further Actions’ removed from my record?

There are a range of formal out-of-court disposals available to the police and prosecutors for dealing with adult offenders. In some circumstances you may be able to have these removed from your police record.

What is a Simple Caution?

As set out in the Ministry of Justice, Simple Cautions for Adult Offenders guidance: “A simple caution (once known as a formal or police caution) is a formal warning that may be given by the police to persons aged 18 or over who admit to committing an offence (“offenders”). The simple caution scheme is designed to provide a means of dealing with low-level, mainly first-time, offending without a prosecution.”

What is a Conditional Caution?

As stated in the Ministry of Justice, Code of Practice for Adult Conditional Cautions Part 3 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, “a conditional caution allows an authorised person (usually a police officer) or a relevant prosecutor (usually the CPS) to decide to give a caution with one or more conditions attached. When an offender is given a conditional caution for an offence, criminal proceedings for that offence are halted while the offender is given an opportunity to comply with the conditions. Where the conditions are complied with, the prosecution is not normally commenced.”

What is a No Further Action?

No Further Action in effect means that the Police are not taking any further action against you in respect of the allegations.

Having any of the above on your criminal record could cause significant issues when applying to jobs, volunteering or applying for visas.It is possible for the police to expunge an entry on your PNC record. However, they must be convinced that there is a good reason for doing so, including that their own conduct was unlawful in some way. Applications for record deletion are submitted to ACRO who then forward it to the relevant police force. The Chief Officer will then review the application and make a decision whether to (i) accept that the caution or the No Further Action should be removed and deleted from the Police National Computer or (ii) deny the application and retain the caution or the No Further Action on the applicant’s record.

In order to be successful in such an application, there are specified criteria. Therefore one of the following grounds need to apply:

  1. Unlawfully taken (samples)
  2. Mistaken identity/ unlawful arrest
  3. No crime
  4. Malicious/ false allegation
  5. Proven alibi
  6. Incorrect disposal
  7. Suspect status not clear at the time of arrest
  8. Another person convicted of the offence
  9. Judicial recommendation
  10. Public interest

In recent years, we have found that the ‘Public Interest’ ground allows considerable flexibility in how to craft applications to delete. There is no necessity for the applicant to have been innocent of the offence alleged, nor that police acted incorrectly/ unlawfully. We have succeeded in numerous applications where such clients have sensibly moved on in life and improved their situation. The passage of time, as well as new career and family opportunities, can mean retention of the PNC record is no longer in the public interest. For such applicants, we have found chief police officers can be genuinely forgiving.

If you feel that you have reason to challenge a police caution or a no further action, please contact Saunders Law either via our website or by calling 0207 632 4300 to speak to a member of our team. Please note that Saunders Law crime department only takes on private paying clients.


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