Rapists, paedophiles, drug dealers and gunmen 'let off' with cautions in the West Midlands
Rapists, paedophiles, drug abusers and potentially dangerous criminals are being 'let off' with cautions in the West Midlands.
More than 8,000 cautions, where a criminal admits an offence, have been issued in the region over the last two years, including for sexual offences against children.
The information, released under the Freedom of Information Act, shows cautions were issued in the West Midlands:
- 49 times for sexual offences on women aged 13 and older
- 189 times for wilful neglect of a child
- eight times when adults had sexual activity with a girl
- eight times for carrying imitation firearms or air guns
- once for the rape of a girl aged between 13 and 15.
The figures show that hundreds of drug users were issued with cautions, including one case of possession of crystal meth, 270 cases of cocaine, 25 crack cocaine, 51, heroin, and 902 for cannabis.
Five cautions were issued for keeping a brothel for prostitution, on 10 occasions where there had been a 'threat to kill', and 83 cases of possessing offensive weapons. There was also one caution issued for bigamy.
Staffordshire Police revealed it has issued more than 10,000 cautions since 2013. The documents reveal three people have been cautioned for raping children. Cautions were also issued 22 times for possession of a firearm, and a further four times for possession of a firearm with intent. There were 40 cautions for acts of cruelty to children, 70 cautions for possessing a blade, and a staggering 312 times for trafficking controlled drugs.
Campaigner Ian Jenkins used an FOI to reveal the figures. The Midlands Liberal Democrat activist said: "It is completely unacceptable to give cautions for rape or sexual assaults, including children. It is sickening and will make people think that evil paedophiles and abusers can commit these acts, effectively be let off, and then be able are free to walk our streets.
"There are no mitigating factors and no excuses. They should go before a court and the victims deserve justice."
A simple caution is a formal notice, issued by a police officer, once someone has admitted an offence. A conditional caution is similar but the person must also agree to stick to certain conditions which may include paying compensation to the victim or issuing an apology for the offence.
While a police caution is not technically classed as a criminal conviction, the details are retained by the police for future reference and can be taken into account by a magistrate or a judge if the person is convicted of a further offence in the future.
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