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CPS Conditional Cautioning Data by Quarter

Introduction to Conditional Cautioning

Conditional Cautioning was brought in by the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and is operated under a statutory Code of Practice.

The Code of Practice requires the Director of Public Prosecutions to issue supporting guidance.

Offences suitable for Conditional Cautioning are set out at Annex A of the sixth edition of the DPP's Guidance.

Conditional Cautions are one of a range of out-of-court disposals and provide an effective, swift and speedy resolution in appropriate cases.

At present a Conditional Caution can be administered where an offender aged 18 or over, on admitting the offence, accepts a caution with condition(s).

If the conditions are complied with or completed within the timescales determined by the prosecutor, the case is finalised and there is no prosecution. If, however, the conditions are not complied with, a prosecution may follow.

Conditional Conditions can be:

  • Reparative (such as writing a letter of apology; repairing damage; paying compensation or undertaking unpaid work in the community, if public or the wider community are the victim; mediation between the offender and the victim);
  • Rehabilitative (attendance at drug or alcohol awareness session in an effort to halt the causes of the offending behaviour); or
  • Restrictive (not to approach a particular area or person) if the restriction supports reparation or rehabilitation.

It is for the CPS prosecutor to decide, following referral by the police, whether a Conditional Caution is the appropriate disposal in any case listed, in the guidance issued by the DPP.

A Conditional Caution differs from a simple caution as there are certain conditions that must be complied with in order to avoid prosecution for the offence committed.

In 2009 the DPP published 'The Public Prosecution Service - Setting the Standard' in which he called for a coherent and consistent, transparent, monitored legislative system for the use of all out-of-court disposals.

The CPS is committed to ensuring that its involvement in the diversion process is transparent; therefore the information available here provides data from the CPS case management system about the Conditional Cautions administered.

Conditional Cautions can offer a swift and speedier resolution, in appropriate cases, than the full judicial process. They can help address the needs of the wider community by highlighting the effects of the offending behaviour on that community, including:

  • Increased community participation in the delivery of local justice; and
  • Offenders gain access to treatment for alcohol and drug interventions more speedily.

A Conditional Caution can be refused by an offender, who can take the option of being prosecuted in court if they prefer so. The disposal does not, therefore, deny an offender the right to a court hearing. It does provide an opportunity, where the public interest test is met, to divert suitable offenders from the court process. If an offender accepts a Conditional Caution but then does not complete the conditions, they can be prosecuted for the original offence.

Information on the Quarterly Report

The data published quarterly includes:

  • The number of Conditional Cautions administered by Area.
  • Type of Conditions attached to Cautions. This allows the user to view the type of conditions used. Each Conditional Caution administered may have more than one condition attached to it; as a result of this the number of conditions will not be equal to the number of Conditional Cautions administered.
  • The number of Conditional Cautions administered by offence. This shows those offences for which a Conditional Caution has been administered for the relevant quarter.
  • Outcome of CPS decision-making following non-compliance. This section gives information regarding the actions taken by the CPS in the event that the offender does not comply with the terms of the Conditional Caution.
  • Number of Conditional Cautions broken down by Gender and Area.


Conditional Caution - "Conditional Caution" means a caution which is given in respect of an offence committed by the offender and which has conditions attached to it with which the offender must comply (Criminal Justice Act 2003 s. 22(2)).

Type of Conditional Cautions available:

  • Rehabilitative
    • This condition is intended to rehabilitate the defendant. For example, attendance at drug or alcohol awareness sessions in an effort to halt the causes of the offending behaviour.
  • Reparative
    • Restorative Justice - a condition intending to restore justice to the victim and the community.
    • Compensation - a condition to pay a specific amount directly to the victim to compensate them for the crime.
    • Letter of Apology - a letter of apology written by the defendant, which will be sent to the victim.
    • Other reparative - other conditions imposed on the offender to help repair the harm that has arisen from the crime.
  • Restrictive
    • Restrictive - this condition will be imposed to restrict the offender, for example prohibiting him from entering a certain area, as it is a condition that supports rehabilitation.

Punitive and Youth Conditional Cautions

A punitive conditional caution is the payment of a financial penalty based on scales documented in Annex B of the sixth edition of the DPP's Guidance. Adult Punitive (financial penalty conditions) Conditional Cautions are currently being piloted in five CPS Areas. At the same time Youth Conditional Cautions are being piloted in the same Areas. No data is included concerning these pilots, which are subject to separate evaluation.

Data Sources and quality

The data presented on Conditional Cautions are drawn from the CPS Case Management System. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system. While figures shown have been checked as far as practicable, they should be regarded as approximate and not necessarily accurate to the last whole number.

Data on releases are extracted around two weeks after the end of the previous quarter, allowing CPS staff time to update the case records. Amendments to records after this time are not published.

Further Questions

Any enquiries may be directed to:

Conditional cautioning data


Conditional Cautioning Data Quarter 2 2010/11 (PDF document, opens in new window)

Conditional Cautioning Data Quarter 1 2010/11 (PDF document, opens in new window)

Underlying data for Conditional Cautioning Data 2010/11


Conditional Cautioning Data Quarter 4 2009/10 (PDF document, opens in new window)

Conditional Cautioning Data Quarter 3 2009/10 (PDF document, opens in new window)