British Transport Police - caution or interview under caution? Confused!

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Epsom
Hi there,

I have today been caught carrying an invalid ticket for travel. I was caught by the British Transport Police.
I will come back on and give more details when I can talk about it without having a panic attack but I need to know where I stand with this for work and whether I am under a caution.
The officer said to me when he questioned me that the interview was under caution. Is this the same as an actual police caution?
I ask because if it is a caution that I now have I need to disclose this to my place of work / Governing body. I will discuss my whole story but want to get this clarified first.
Thank you.
 
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AlterEgo

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Hi there,

I have today been caught carrying an invalid ticket for travel. I was caught by the British Transport Police.
I will come back on and give more details when I can talk about it without having a panic attack but I need to know where I stand with this for work and whether I am under a caution.
The officer said to me when he questioned me that the interview was under caution. Is this the same as an actual police caution?
I ask because if it is a caution that I now have I need to disclose this to my place of work / Governing body. I will discuss my whole story but want to get this clarified first.
Thank you.
No, that is not the same as receiving a police caution, which is a way of dispensing of a crime without a court process.

An interview under caution is what’s happened. That’s different, and where you are told “you do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence…” etc. No crime is yet recorded and you likely don’t need to inform your employer about it.
 
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Thank you for replying to this. I am trying to figure out whether because it might possibly go to court that I tell my governing body now rather than wait until it goes to court and then them asking why I didn’t tell them in the first instance.
 

Fawkes Cat

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If you are a member of a union at work (or a students union at university) try to talk to them about this as soon as possible. They should be familiar with what precisely you are contractually required to disclose to your employer.

Otherwise, try and look very closely at your contract / conditions of employment and so on to see what they say. Hopefully that will make things clear.

If things still aren’t clear, then in general I would suggest that it is better to disclose unnecessarily than to keep quiet and then be pulled up for not disclosing. But you need to consider the immediate impact of disclosing. I can see that for some jobs disclosure - even of being investigated - might lead to immediate suspension or worse. But there are fewer of those jobs than many people imagine. Taking nursing as an example, this is what the nursing regulator has to say:

Considering criminal conviction or caution declarations​


Nurses, midwives or nursing associates must declare any cautions or convictions, unless these are for a protected caution or conviction, when they apply to join our register or renew their registration with us.

They also need to let us know if they become involved in criminal offending while they’re on our register.

Not telling us about a conviction or caution is a clear breach of the Code.
And

Assessing the seriousness of convictions and cautions​


If the criminal offending was directly linked to the nurse, midwife or nursing associate’s professional practice, it’s very likely this would be serious enough to affect their fitness to practise.

(…)

If the criminal offending took place in the nurse, midwife or nursing associate’s private life, and there’s no clear risk to patients or members of the public, then it is unlikely that we’ll need to take regulatory action to uphold confidence in nurses, midwives or nursing associates, or professional standards.

We’d only need to do that if the nurse, midwife or nursing associate was given a custodial sentence (this includes suspended sentences), or the conviction was for a specified offence.

(Source - https://www.nmc.org.uk/ftp-library/...llegations/criminal-convictions-and-cautions/)

So if you are a nurse then an accusation or conviction for fare-dodging won’t impact your professional registration. If you are in another line of business then the same may apply.

Above all, don’t panic. If you didn’t pay your proper train fare then (most probably) you have broken the law. But there’s a wide range of behaviours that break the law, and they’re not all as serious as each other. If murder is at one end of the scale, not paying a train fare is very much at the other - and in general the law and employers recognise this difference. So there may be consequences, but they are fairly unlikely to be catastrophic.
 
Last edited:
Joined
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Location
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So I am a nurse & I’ve read all of this, thank you. Mainly last night when I couldn’t sleep for worrying.
I feel remorseful but I don’t think they’ll let me off lightly for knowingly doing it for 6 weeks. Not an excuse but my lack of pay and my train fare being £34 a day made me do it. I had planned to stop as I just received a payrise for a promotion I worked for which gets paid tomorrow so I was making this week my last. Not an excuse I know, I’m completely remorseful.

I guess what I need to know is because it’s not a caution or conviction as yet I don’t know whether I disclose or not. Will have a look at my contract closely. I can call the NMC & ask them but my mum (who is a solicitor) said but you’re not convicted of anything yet, but I am under investigation so I just don’t know.

The BTP were involved as they said they had watched people from the same station do it and were tracking people. He then approached me.
I don’t know what to do.
 
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jumble

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1 Jul 2011
Messages
744
Thank you for replying to this. I am trying to figure out whether because it might possibly go to court that I tell my governing body now rather than wait until it goes to court and then them asking why I didn’t tell them in the first instance.

So I am a nurse & I’ve read all of this, thank you. Mainly last night when I couldn’t sleep for worrying.
I feel remorseful but I don’t think they’ll let me off lightly for knowingly doing it for 6 weeks. Not an excuse but my lack of pay and my train fare being £34 a day made me do it. I had planned to stop as I just received a payrise for a promotion I worked for which gets paid tomorrow so I was making this week my last. Not an excuse I know, I’m completely remorseful.

I guess what I need to know is because it’s not a caution or conviction as yet I don’t know whether I disclose or not. Will have a look at my contract closely. I can call the NMC & ask them but my mum (who is a solicitor) said but you’re not convicted of anything yet, but I am under investigation so I just don’t know.

The BTP were involved as they said they had watched people from the same station do it and were tracking people. He then approached me.
I don’t know what to do.
My view is that your Mum is correct and you should resist the temptation to do anything as there is nothing to declare except that someone has suggested that you might have done something wrong and has asked for your side of the story.

If it is settled out of court there is then no need to tell anyone anything.
( A bit like speed awareness courses and insurance company declarations)
 
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Thank you. I admitted that I had done something wrong straight away so that does not implicate me more?

There’s no caution or charge but will be investigated so I don’t know whether this constitutes confessing because it comes under the penalty fares which is not considered as a fitness to practice.

But if it goes to court then of course I will notify them, I just don’t want to get into trouble for having not done it sooner as honesty is the best policy.
 

Brissle Girl

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Two things in your favour are that 1) from the NMC link, it's very unlikely to affect your employment status and 2) your mother is a solicitor, so you are better placed than most to get appropriate advice without incurring substantial costs.

However, from what you have said, I suspect this is at the upper end of seriousness of cases which the train companies deal with, which reduces (but not eliminates) the chance that you will be able to settle out of court. Why do I say that? Because you've said that this wasn't a one-off occurrence, but had been going on regularly for some time. And moreover, it appears that they were "on to you", in terms of the BTP being involved and tracking you (and no doubt others doing the same thing).

If you can give us more information, such as the train company involved, and how exactly you were paying a lower fare than you should (eg short faring, out of date railcard, etc) then others may be able to provide more help regarding your situation.
 

Watershed

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The similarity between the distinct terms interview under caution and police caution is somewhat unhelpful, but to clarify:

An interview under caution describes the circumstances under which most conversations with suspects must be undertaken. An interview under caution isn't something you accept, or which inherently means you have a criminal record - it simply means you have been interviewed and, therefore, warned about the consequences of what you do or don't say during the interview. You'd know you have had an interview under caution if the officer said "you do not have to say anything..."

A police caution is a means of disposing a criminal offence - as an alternative to being taken to Court, convicted and sentenced. A police caution isn't something that can be 'imposed' on you - but if you do accept it, it would be on your criminal record (with the caveat that it won't automatically be disclosed for all criminal record checks). You need to sign a document to accept a police caution, so you'd know if you had received one.

If you have been dealt with, either by the railway or the BTP, for a fares offence it is almost certain you will have been interviewed under caution. Otherwise your comments might not be admissible in Court.

However, it would only be if the BTP are dealing with the irregularity that there is the option of disposing it by means of a police caution. It sounds like, in your case, the BTP were involved to some extent but that the main investigation/prosecution etc. is being done by the railway. Hence it would appear that a police caution is not on the cards.

As always, you are best off obtaining legal advice from a criminal defence solicitor, and employment related advice from your union.
 
Last edited:

Islineclear3_1

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Hi there,

I have today been caught carrying an invalid ticket for travel. I was caught by the British Transport Police.
I will come back on and give more details when I can talk about it without having a panic attack but I need to know where I stand with this for work and whether I am under a caution.
The officer said to me when he questioned me that the interview was under caution. Is this the same as an actual police caution?
I ask because if it is a caution that I now have I need to disclose this to my place of work / Governing body. I will discuss my whole story but want to get this clarified first.
Thank you.
Write down exactly what you can remember when the BTP interviewed you. Then when you are ready, post the details here.

Then the experts here might be able to advise further
 

jumble

Member
Joined
1 Jul 2011
Messages
744
Thank you. I admitted that I had done something wrong straight away so that does not implicate me more?

There’s no caution or charge but will be investigated so I don’t know whether this constitutes confessing because it comes under the penalty fares which is not considered as a fitness to practice.

But if it goes to court then of course I will notify them, I just don’t want to get into trouble for having not done it sooner as honesty is the best policy.

My view is no one is going to care unless either a caution is accepted or your are convicted in a court and telling anyone has no upsides but considerable downsides
There is a possibility that the case will never be proceeded with but this matter would then be on your record with the NMC
( this is akin to a barrister who is not allowed to defend a client if the client pleads not guilty but the barrister knows the client is guilty. The barrister can suspect what ever he likes but if the client tells him they did it then it is game over )
 
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Epsom
Ok so here is the back story.
A friend I work with told me she had been going from a station throughout the entire pandemic with no barrier and buying a ticket halfway into London via southeastern because nobody was checking the fares. I did not do this for 6 months. 6-8 weeks ago I ran into some cash issues and so decided to do the same. I’m not proud of it, in fact I’m mortified and ashamed.

BTP approached me with the part paid trip ticket and said they’d been watching lots of us for a while and that I needed to tell him the truth. I told him everything, honestly and openly. He said that because I had been open and honest and remorseful he would report that back. He said (and a southeastern man also said) that I’ll get a letter asking for my statement, I reply to that and they may offer me an out of court settlement but they may decide to prosecute.

Ive added up the costs and what I would owe them and fully prepared to somehow pay for this. As ive read on here, admit I’m wrong, show remorse (which is honest remorse) and ask for an out of court settlement. As others have said it might be unlikely as it was not a one off occurrence.

I feel so stupid having jeopardised my career and life. I have never been in trouble with the police. Ive always presented with a valid ticket on travel before now. But I don’t hold out hope for this & im terrified I’ll go to prison.

As I’ve also mentioned and others have said that I don’t know when I report to my governing body or employer. I am not under any caution or conviction so it states I do not have to, however, I feel like it would be frowned upon if I then get a court summons. Like others have said, it may be something I never need to bring up either if it’s an out of court settlement.

I hope this helps with the extra information needed.
 

Brissle Girl

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Thank you. It’s helpful to have the full picture.

One thing you probably ought to try and get evidence of (maybe through bank statements) is when you started doing this (ie showing that before that date you paid the appropriate fare). That way in any discussions you can show that this hasn’t been going on longer than you claim it has, both in terms of severity and any compensation due from you.
 

Watershed

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im terrified I’ll go to prison.
You will therefore be relieved to know that this is not going to happen. Yes, this is a more serious irregularity than your average "pay when challenged" passenger, but:
  1. With this going on for a while, in some ways you are more likely to be offered a settlement - they may not be confident of being able to prove each individual 'incident' to the criminal standard, whereas if you pay them the settlement, they are guaranteed their money (which is usually what the TOCs are most interested in).
  2. If you were to be refused a settlement and prosecuted under the Railway Byelaws (the least 'serious' offence available), you cannot be sentenced to imprisonment. It's not an option available to the Magistrate(s).
  3. If you were to be prosecuted under the Regulation of Railways Act (RoRA - the more 'serious' railway offence), imprisonment is legally reserved for a second and subsequent offence. You might think "Ah, but what if each day is counted as a separate offence?". However, this is not the way things work with such prosecutions - it would realisticaly mean a second or subsequent Court 'appearance'.
  4. But even then, the Sentencing Guidelines make this exceptionally unlikely - your case would likely fall into category 2 - "lower culpability and greater harm". The guidelines state the starting point for a category 2 case is a band B fine (75-125% of weekly income), with a range of a band A (25-75%) to C (125-175%) fine. In other words, the recommended range of sentences in no way includes imprisonment, merely a fine (and that is without even considering that there may be mitigating factors in your case).
The only kinds of cases where railway fare evasion ends up with prison is where people repeatedly get taken to Court and are on 'first name terms' with the local Court staff. For example, this man who was caught 55 times by inspectors and had countless previous convictions.

As you can see, there is no risk of that happening in you case.

As I’ve also mentioned and others have said that I don’t know when I report to my governing body or employer. I am not under any caution or conviction so it states I do not have to, however, I feel like it would be frowned upon if I then get a court summons. Like others have said, it may be something I never need to bring up either if it’s an out of court settlement.
You really need to speak to your union about this - they should advise you as to how you should act, and what you should or shouldn't disclose.
 

WesternLancer

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Ok so here is the back story.
A friend I work with told me she had been going from a station throughout the entire pandemic with no barrier and buying a ticket halfway into London via southeastern because nobody was checking the fares. I did not do this for 6 months. 6-8 weeks ago I ran into some cash issues and so decided to do the same. I’m not proud of it, in fact I’m mortified and ashamed.

BTP approached me with the part paid trip ticket and said they’d been watching lots of us for a while and that I needed to tell him the truth. I told him everything, honestly and openly. He said that because I had been open and honest and remorseful he would report that back. He said (and a southeastern man also said) that I’ll get a letter asking for my statement, I reply to that and they may offer me an out of court settlement but they may decide to prosecute.

Ive added up the costs and what I would owe them and fully prepared to somehow pay for this. As ive read on here, admit I’m wrong, show remorse (which is honest remorse) and ask for an out of court settlement. As others have said it might be unlikely as it was not a one off occurrence.

I feel so stupid having jeopardised my career and life. I have never been in trouble with the police. Ive always presented with a valid ticket on travel before now. But I don’t hold out hope for this & im terrified I’ll go to prison.

As I’ve also mentioned and others have said that I don’t know when I report to my governing body or employer. I am not under any caution or conviction so it states I do not have to, however, I feel like it would be frowned upon if I then get a court summons. Like others have said, it may be something I never need to bring up either if it’s an out of court settlement.

I hope this helps with the extra information needed.
Very much doubt that you would go to prison, so put that to the back of your mind.
As @Brissle Girl suggests, start collating your evidence.

Also start prepping your reply to the letter when they contact you (assume you gave accurate address details and they were recorded correctly) - ie your apology, your admission of guilt and for how long (they have been tracking you they suggest so it would be best to come clean with honest admission of for how long and how many journies), and your offer to pay what is owed and any fee they deem appropriate. No doubt your mum will give advice too.

You can post your draft reply on here for comment if you like.

Engage fully with SE Trains in my view.

Good luck with this, you have made a mistake and I suspect learned from it. Also speak to your union rep / RCN person for some advice might be helpful (see if you can speak to them informally in first instance).
 

Islineclear3_1

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You "may" be lucky and once SouthEastern have written to you and you give your side of the story, you "might" be offered to pay an out of court settlement

On the other hand, short-faring is very serious and if the officials have been watching/monitoring stations (or using CCTV), you "might" be unlucky and be summoned to court for proscecution

Unfortunately, whether or not you paid the full fare in the past is neither here or there. But a very remorseful letter offering to pay their costs (usually in the low £hundreds) may keep this out of court

But yes, speaking to your union is very good advice.

Otherwise, all you can do is await a letter in the post. It could arrive within a week or up to 6 months

Good luck with this, you have made a mistake and I suspect learned from it. Also speak to your union rep / RCN person for some advice might be helpful (see if you can speak to them informally in first instance).
This isn't a mistake

The OP has admitted to (deliberately) short-faring
 
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Thank you everyone. Fully accepting responsibility, no way I’m defending that at all.

I don’t have a union rep but will look at joining one.
 

AlterEgo

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Thank you everyone. Fully accepting responsibility, no way I’m defending that at all.

I don’t have a union rep but will look at joining one.
The union likely won't be able to specifically assist in your case if you weren't a member when it happened, but the rep may be able to offer generic advice.

As a general aside, you should always join a union wherever you work.
 

WesternLancer

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This isn't a mistake

The OP has admitted to (deliberately) short-faring
Yes, point taken. I guess I phrased it poorly - the 'mistake' the OP made is a mistake of very poor judgment in deciding to commit the offence. More generally people need to appreciate that the railways need fare income to, amongst other things, pay the staff who work on them, just like the NHS needs taxpayers taxes to pay its staff (so tax dodgers are little or no different than fare dodgers in my view). But don't want to digress.
 

Tazi Hupefi

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Important thing to clarify here.



If it was the BTP officer that interviewed you under caution, there will be no ability to settle, it's going to head to court in all likelihood. BTP can't and won't "hand over" statements to Southeastern.



If it was BTP that stopped you but handed you over to Southeastern for interview, you should be able to negotiate a settlement and avoid court?



Regardless, it sounds like this is at the higher end of the scale for this type of crime.
 
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It was BTP but he himself said I’ll likely get a letter asking for my side of events, then I tell them. Then i might be given an opportunity to settle out of court but I might not, those were his specific words which confused me.
I know it’s the higher end of the crime, I feel ashamed.
 

WesternLancer

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They definately won't.

But you should seek advice from the RCN or Nursing & Midwifery Council
Yes, agree. But union rep in my workplace will def give informal advice to non members as part of their efforts to recruit members, and it often works, as the rep will explain they 'can't take it on formally, but this is the sort of help you can get if you join'.

It was BTP but he himself said I’ll likely get a letter asking for my side of events, then I tell them. Then i might be given an opportunity to settle out of court but I might not, those were his specific words which confused me.
I know it’s the higher end of the crime, I feel ashamed.
Tazi makes a good point, but this sounds to me like BTP were helping SE Trains carry out a ticket dodging check, as opposed to BTP intervening in the apprehending of the offenders and taking prosecutions forward (I can't see why they would really want to do that if the train company has a fare evasion team or contractor to deal with such matters - as we know they do). In any case you will hear in due course and that will help you gauge the actions you can take, along with help and advice from people here in how to respond to either SE Trains or BTP.
 

jumble

Member
Joined
1 Jul 2011
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744
Ok so here is the back story.
A friend I work with told me she had been going from a station throughout the entire pandemic with no barrier and buying a ticket halfway into London via southeastern because nobody was checking the fares. I did not do this for 6 months. 6-8 weeks ago I ran into some cash issues and so decided to do the same. I’m not proud of it, in fact I’m mortified and ashamed.

BTP approached me with the part paid trip ticket and said they’d been watching lots of us for a while and that I needed to tell him the truth. I told him everything, honestly and openly. He said that because I had been open and honest and remorseful he would report that back. He said (and a southeastern man also said) that I’ll get a letter asking for my statement, I reply to that and they may offer me an out of court settlement but they may decide to prosecute.

Ive added up the costs and what I would owe them and fully prepared to somehow pay for this. As ive read on here, admit I’m wrong, show remorse (which is honest remorse) and ask for an out of court settlement. As others have said it might be unlikely as it was not a one off occurrence.

I feel so stupid having jeopardised my career and life. I have never been in trouble with the police. Ive always presented with a valid ticket on travel before now. But I don’t hold out hope for this & im terrified I’ll go to prison.

As I’ve also mentioned and others have said that I don’t know when I report to my governing body or employer. I am not under any caution or conviction so it states I do not have to, however, I feel like it would be frowned upon if I then get a court summons. Like others have said, it may be something I never need to bring up either if it’s an out of court settlement.

I hope this helps with the extra information needed.
Pleased remember that despite what you may read the prosecution dept may very well not want to ruin someone's life because they were young and foolish.
Anyone posting here has no idea how this will play out.
Again do not tell anyone !
 

Haywain

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Anyone posting here has no idea how this will play out.
Again do not tell anyone !
Actually, many posters here have a very good idea how this will play out, that's why it's an advice forum that people keep coming to.
 

jumble

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Actually, many posters here have a very good idea how this will play out, that's why it's an advice forum that people keep coming to.
I see
They must be psychic to be able to tell the OP for sure if they will get an out of court offer or a summons
 

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