No Prosecution Necessary: UK Police Force Issues over 100 Cautions for Rape, Sexual Assault Against Children

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No Prosecution Necessary: UK Police Force Issues over 100 Cautions for Rape, Sexual Assault Against Children:

Campaigners and politicians have expressed concern over the revelation that Hampshire Police handed more than 100 cautions for rape and other serious sexual offences in the past five years.

Crimes including sex with children under the age of 18 and incest were met by the force with police cautions  — formal warnings that serve as an alternative to prosecution in minor cases  — according to an investigation by the Hampshire Chronicle.

Since 2014, Hampshire constabulary have cautioned four people for rape, and another six for serious sexual assaults including five counts which were carried out on children under the age of 16.

Another disclosure from the data, which was obtained via Freedom of Information requests, included that between 2011 and 2012 the police force handed out 18 cautions for sexual assaults. 

Tory MP Mims Davies, said she was “surprised and concerned” by the statistics, and pledged to raise the issue with Hampshire’s chief police constable.

The Eastleigh MP told the Hampshire Chronicle “it does not seem right” for police to issue cautions in response to “such concerning crimes, where these offences have such a long term impact on the victims”.

Davies’ reaction to the data echoed that of charity Rape Crisis England, whose spokesman reported: “The use of cautions for sexual offences has been a cause for concern for some time.

“In the vast majority of cases where the offender is an adult, they seem wholly inappropriate, largely because they don’t in any way reflect the seriousness of the crime or the long-lasting and often devastating impacts that sexual violence has on lives.”

Responding to the Chronicle’s investigation, Hampshire Constabulary said all allegations of sexual offences are taken seriously and police officers sought to conduct thorough investigations as well as providing a compassionate and professional response to victims.

A spokesman added: “Investigations into these offences are among the most complex that our officers carry out and cautioning offenders is just one example of formal action open to the police in these cases

“Several factors will be considered when deciding whether a caution is an appropriate outcome, including the specifics of each offence, the wishes of the victim, and whether they support a prosecution through the courts.”

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