More than 40 sex offenders get cautions

MORE than 40 Suffolk paedophiles and sex offenders received police cautions last year instead of being charged, it emerged today.Two of the 46 cautions related to the reported rape of boys aged 12 and 11.

MORE than 40 Suffolk paedophiles and sex offenders received police cautions last year instead of being charged, it emerged today.

Two of the 46 cautions related to the reported rape of boys aged 12 and 11. At least 13 other sex attacks on children were not prosecuted, Suffolk Constabulary figures also revealed.

However, police stressed although crimes are recorded as reported, the caution eventually given to a 14-year-old relating to the alleged rape of the boys was for sexual touching.

Among the other child sex crimes that never reached court were two assaults on girls under 13, seven cases of sexual activity involving children between 13 and 15, and four counts of sexual activity involving children aged 12 or younger.

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There is nothing in the figures to suggest how many adults and how many children were cautioned for the offences.

The statistics show there were also 53 sex crimes allegedly carried out on children where the alleged perpetrators were charged. These included ten rapes on girls aged between 13 and 15, and two rapes and 26 other sex assaults on girls aged 12 or under. There were also four people charged for sexually assaulting boys in the same age group.

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The details were released by Suffolk Constabulary following a Freedom of Information Act request by The Evening Star.

Among the other reported sexual offences in the county which merited a caution were 13 for a sex assault on a female aged 13 and over, six for soliciting women and one for exploitation of prostitution.

According to reports earlier this year in national media hundreds of sex attackers each year are given cautions.

Fewer robbers and burglars are also said to be going to jail and are being offered the opportunity of a caution instead of court.

Sentencing statistics showed the number of offenders being offered the opportunity to admit responsibility for crimes, but not being prosecuted jumped by 17 per cent from 2004 to 2005 to almost 300,000.

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RESPONDING to the figures on cautions, Lisa Miller, a spokeswoman for Suffolk police, said: “Suffolk Constabulary treats all reports of sexual offences seriously.

“Initial crime reports are categorised according to the description of the offence as first reported by the victim.

“Occasionally subsequent investigation reveals that a different type of offence has been committed. This can lead to apparent anomalies with regard to the subsequent outcome.

“For example the crime statistics 2006/2007 show that two cautions were given in respect of the report of a rape of a male child aged under 13.

“In this instance investigation proved that a single offender, a boy of 14, had committed two offences of 'sexual touching' one with a boy of 12 and one with a boy of 11, due to the specific details of this case the Crown Prosecution Service agreed that a caution was the appropriate sanction.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk's Crown Prosecution Service said: "A sexual offence refers to a wide range of behaviour ranging from inappropriate touching through to much more serious sexual offences.

CPS Suffolk has specialist prosecutors throughout the county who ensure each case is examined thoroughly and prosecuted vigorously.

In exceptional circumstances after applying the Code for Crown Prosecutors we will consider cautioning if there is an admission of guilt.

For example if the defendant is very young the youth offending team can put together a package of measures to punish and rehabilitate the offender without putting the victim through the stress of a court case."

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