A police caution is a formal alternative to prosecution in minor cases. You can only be offered a caution if you admit guilt and do not provide a defence, there is sufficient evidence that shows a realistic prospect of conviction if your case were to be prosecuted and you consent to the caution.

There are two types of caution the police may offer you:

  1. Simple caution: a formal warning that may be given to persons aged 18 or over who admit to committing an offence.
  2. Conditional caution: requires an offender to comply with conditions, as an alternative to prosecution. The conditions that can be attached must be rehabilitative, reparative and/or a financial penalty.

However, accepting police cautions can have significant impact as they form part of your criminal record and can be referred to in future legal proceedings. They can also have an effect on international travel and be included as part of a criminal record check.

Police cautions stay on your record for 6 years after issue. However, this can be prolonged as the police have the discretion to disclose cautions for longer than this if they deem it relevant to the job you are applying for.

Once a caution has been accepted there is no formal right of appeal. If you seek to quash the caution, this will usually require an application for judicial review. However, the administration of a caution can be challenged by a complaint to the police and an application for expungement. Where this is successful the caution can be removed from both internal police records and the Police National Computer.

If you are uncertain about whether you have any police cautions in the UK you can apply for a copy of your police records through a process called a Subject Access Request (SAR).

If you have reason to challenge a police caution please contact Saunders Law via our website or on 020 7632 4300 to speak to a member of our team.


    How can we help?

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can

    We have partnered with Law Share from JMW Solicitors LLP to refer instructions and clients to them, when we are unable to act. By answering yes to this question, you agree that we may pass your details on to Law Share in such circumstances. You are under no obligation to instruct JMW Solicitors LLP after being referred. We may receive a payment from JMW Solicitors LLP further to this referral.