Over the last ten years the NSW Police Force (Police) has used cautioning to divert over 39,000 minor cannabis offenders from the courts, saving at least $20 million in court costs. People cautioned for minor cannabis offences are also less likely to reoffend than those dealt with by the courts. Adults are more likely to be cautioned for minor cannabis offences today than when cautioning was introduced ten years ago. However this is not the case for young offenders who are more likely to be charged today. Cautioning may help people think about the consequences of their cannabis use. However few people seek help to reduce it with only 1.6 per cent of offenders contacting the drug helpline under the adult cautioning scheme. And there have been no evaluations yet on whether cautioning reduces drug use in NSW.
Parliamentary reference - Report number #211 - released 7 April 2011