View Full Version : Caution: no more cautions

11-01-2014, 06:26 AM
The government of England and Wales has decided to scrap a system whereby police officers could give "cautions" to people who commit minor offences. The idea is supposed to be an improvement, but I'm having some difficulty seeing how it could actually work.

The overhaul of what are known as out-of-court disposals will mean cannabis warnings, community resolutions, penalty notices for disorder, simple cautions and conditional cautions would be replaced by the new two-tier framework.

As part of the scheme, first-time offenders committing minor crimes would face a new statutory community resolution.

This could see them offering a verbal or written apology to their victim, paying compensation or fixing damage.
Suppose that someone is caught by the police with a small amount of cannabis. To whom is he now supposed to apologize? Who is the victim of this wannabe cannabis user, so who should get a verbal or written apology, or be paid compensation to?

It seems to me that this move at one stroke totally demolishes the British drug policy. I doubt that's what they have in mind. Now they have two options left: total repression (which is too expensive, as it would fill up their prisons far too quickly) or abandoning the War On Drugs. I wouldn't be opposed to the latter, but I do not believe that is what they intend to do at all.

So, how could this possibly work?

11-01-2014, 09:07 AM
I suppose the cannabis first offender could write a letter of apology to herself. As for compensation, the police might consider compensating her for the stash that they no doubt seized.

11-01-2014, 09:53 AM
Sounds sensible. I don't think Cameron will be sensible, of course, but maybe he'll surprise me.

11-01-2014, 10:48 AM
They could just do what the city of Ann Arbor does for marijuana offenses - $25 dollar fine for the first possession bust, $50 for the second, $100 for any subsequent. Money goes into the public coffers of the city. Much more sensible way of handling a victimless crime, which is why everyone always figured if you were going to be busted for such a non-crime so much better to be busted by the city cops than by the university (University of Michigan) cops, since they enforced state rather than city law. Hopefully at some point everyone switches to an even more sensible approach - just legalize it everywhere and tax it to generate revenue.

11-01-2014, 11:27 AM
Strictly speaking, this is not just about having a bit of marihuana. I just don't know any specific examples of other offences that could result in getting a caution under the old scheme,so it is likely that the "apology and compensation" scheme would make sense for some of those other offences. Probably not for all, but I don't think that I can reliably extrapolate from my ignorance to figure out other good examples.