DPP issues new rules to police on cautions’
Police will be able to issue cautions for low-level offences under a new guidance policy released yesterday.
Common assault, criminal damage, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, public drinking and affray will all be eligible for caution under the document released by Larry Mussenden, the Director of Public Prosecutions.
It is hoped the move will stop young people missing career opportunities because of minor offences and encourage them to become productive members of the community.
Under the guidance document, officers ranked inspector or higher can issue a caution for specified offences if the police determine it would be in the public interest. The document said police should take into account any mitigating or aggravating circumstances in eligible offences, with the decision being “solely within the discretion of the police”.
It says: “The purpose of a caution is to provide a convenient administrative disposal of a criminal case deemed to be of lesser severity. Typically this may be appropriate where the suspect has no prior convictions or cautions for the same or similar offences and where the suspect admits to the offence immediately or at a very early stage.”
Mr Mussenden warned: “Repeat offenders will not be granted cautions so easily as we will not hesitate to prosecute such offenders.”
The document also lists mitigating and aggravating circumstances that police should consider. Mr Mussenden said: “The general guidance is designed to allow our people and particularly younger people the opportunity to pursue their life and career objectives and to be productive, healthy and successful members of the community.”
Mr Mussenden said he had consulted with the Bermuda Police Service over the matter.
He added: “Going forward, I will consider a guidance for cautions for other offences as well as taking a restorative justice approach for certain kinds of cases that aims to resolve issues between parties without the need for putting them in court. I welcome any ideas from individuals or agencies on this topic.”
• To view the Director of Public Prosecutions’ statement, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”