As a former police officer, this is how we used to deal with erring motorists.

Back in the 1950/60/70s I served in the Traffic Division of Kent Police at various ranks, retiring as a Senior Officer. During my time we dealt with erring motorist in three ways:

(1) 'Verbal advice'. Given 'on the spot' by patrols for minor transgressions such as an Unsigned Driving Licence, single light not working, speeding (say 34-36mph in a 30 limit), lesser parking offence. Motorist given advice, which was recorded in register back at base.

(2) 'Written Cautions'. Given by way of letter sent out from Divisional Office. Used for slightly more serious matters, or, where there were extenuating circumstances e.g. speeding as above at say 37-40mph, driver clearly unaware of need for a special licence, or, where defect had just occurred.

(3) 'Summons'. Used when transgression more serious e.g. speeding at above well above 40mph, lack of Insurance and other serious matters. The proportions between (1), (2) and (3) were roughly 3:1:1.

This brought about good relations between Police and Public. It was also the time when we operated as 'courtesy cops'. I even became friends with some of my 'customers'. In any case, very few were aggressive. The remarks about 'Cautions' giving a criminal record are not correct. Only convictions in a court show on criminal records. Normally 'Cautions' are only kept within force records.

Asked on 14 July 2012 by DG, via email

Answered by Honest John
Thank you for that clarification.
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