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3. Police Superintendent's Discretion Scheme

Persons under 18 who have committed a criminal offence might be dealt with by a procedure known as Police Superintendent's Discretion. Rather than being brought before a court, the offenders are cautioned. The offenders are then placed under police supervision for a period of two years or until they reach 18 years of age, whichever is sooner.


The preconditions for a caution are: there is sufficient evidence to support a prosecution; the offenders must admit the offence; and the offenders and their parents or guardians must agree to the cautioning. The nature, seriousness and prevalence of the particular offence is considered, as is any previous criminal record. If there was a previous conviction, it is unlikely there will be a caution. The attitude of the offenders and their parents or guardians, and the views of the victim of the offence are also taken into account.


A caution under Police Superintendent's Discretion Scheme is not a criminal conviction. Therefore, there is no obligation to disclose it, and the offender has a clear record.


The police, however, keep records of these cautions. There is nothing to prevent the police or other disciplined services from checking whether an applicant for employment with them has received a Superintendent’s caution and taking this into account when considering an employment application.