Punishments for crimes are usually commensurate. However, some crimes are of such a minor nature, but involve a process of prosecution. In England and Wales, there are alternative means used to deal with such crimes in order to avoid prosecution. Such means involve what is known as a police caution.
There are several valid reasons as to why a police caution is used as a commensurate punishment for minor or lower level crimes. First, it prevents people from committing the same crime over again. Second, it helps in reducing the amount of court appearances and backlog of pending cases in a court of law. Lastly third, it is an expedient means of responding to minor crimes and their offenders.
Although it is upon the discretion of the law enforcement officers to provide a police caution for someone who has committed a minor crime, the Crown Prosecution Service, otherwise known by its acronym CPS, also provides a fair and unbiased guideline in determining when to administer such police cautions. Thus, a police caution cannot just be given to anyone who has committed a minor offense. A certain criteria or standard has to be met in order for an offender to warrant a police caution.
In order for a police caution to be administered, the offender must be presented with the option and must give his or her consent before it is given. It is also necessary that the offender admit to having done the crime before the police caution is given as an option.