A former lord chief justice has warned of the long-term impact police cautions can have for even minor offences.
Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd called for Parliament to be given an opportunity to look at a code of practice or framework for how cautions could be used in future, as peers continued their line-by-line scrutiny of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
Lord Thomas said: “I think most people don’t appreciate the seriousness of a caution. I, when lord chief justice, we had a number of cases where people found out a number of years later the problem with having accepted the caution.
“One case, for example, a person who was young – she had no convictions of any kind – she couldn’t get into America. There are other occasions where a caution from minor offences makes you into a person of bad character.”
For the Government, Lord Wolfson of Tredegar agreed cautions “can have consequences” and said the Bill addressed issues with cautions in other areas.
He added: “That is why also, in a later part of the Bill, the importance of when a caution is spent is so important and we have sought to build that into the Bill as well.”