NZ Herald Nov 14, 2009
Drunks, shoplifters, cannabis smokers and other minor offenders may be given a warning by police rather than prosecuted to help cut the number of minor cases clogging courtrooms.
The decision to issue a formal warning will be at the discretion of senior police officers for anyone arrested for a crime with a penalty of no more than two years in prison, except in the case of family violence.
The official caution will be recorded, but is not a criminal conviction. …Garth McVicar, of the Sensible Sentencing Trust, said he supported anything that sped up the court process for victims of more serious, violent crimes.
But he was worried that warnings, rather than charges, could remove accountability from offenders, and he pointed to the success of the “zero tolerance” policies in New York.
Offences with maximum penalties of two years in prison or less:
Disorderly behaviour. Shoplifting. Possession of cannabis. Common assault. Possession of knives. Intimidation. Possession of burglary tools.