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Offender was cautioned 21 times by Devon and Cornwall police

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: December 29, 2013

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AN offender was given 21 cautions instead of being prosecuted by Devon and Cornwall police, new figures show.

The person was handed 17 of the cautions for a spate of criminal damage, according to an analysis by a Sunday newspaper.

A further 11 offenders were given at least six cautions by the force.

Devon and Cornwall officers issued more than 1,350 repeat cautions last year, said the Sunday Telegraph.

The Ministry of Justice had previously disclosed that 62,000 offenders nationwide who accepted a caution in the 12 months to March 2013 already had at least one caution on their police record.

Northumbria Police admitted giving one unnamed criminal 50 cautions for “historic offences dating back to 2001”.

Another force, Surrey, said it had handed cautions to one career thief on 43 occasions – the most recent being in September last year.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, announced earlier this year he will crack down on the way police use cautions – apparently heeding warnings from magistrates and other experts that they are being handed out inappropriately to serious, violent and sexual offenders.

Figures released in May showed Devon and Cornwall Police issued the fifth highest number of cautions to sex offenders in the country. Sixty cautions were handed out in the 12 months up to September 2012.

This September, Mr Grayling set out restrictions on the use of cautions which will stop them being used for sex offenders or violent criminals.

The Sunday Telegraph said that several large forces had refused its request under the Freedom of Information legislation to reveal the number of repeat cautions.

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