ANGRY crime campaigners yesterday criticised a police force which admitted letting rapists and paedophiles off with just a caution.
A Freedom of Information request revealed that 65 sex offenders were given a slap on the wrist penalty by Cumbria Police.
The force gave cautions to two rapists and a dozen paedophiles over five years to the end of 2014.
One caution was given for sexual activity with a child while 11 adults were cautioned for unlawful sexual intercourse with a child aged 15 or younger.
Nineteen offenders escaped having to face court after admitting indecent assault on a female.
Five were cautioned for the same offence on a male victim and 21 were let off for indecent exposure.
Tory Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, West Yorks, who has campaigned against the soft use of cautions for sex attackers, said: “Victims should at least know that justice is being done.
“The police seem to be abusing the caution system. It is unacceptable.”
Peter Cuthbertson, of the Centre For Crime Prevention, said: “Even those well aware of how much cautions are being overused will be sickened.
“Cautions for major sex offences and paedophiles are completely unacceptable.”
Cumbria Police said they work with the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute wherever possible.
“Cumbria has one of the highest charge and summons ratio in the country, showing our commitment with the CPS to bring sexual offenders to justice.”
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “In April 2015 we banned the use of simple cautions for serious offences except in exceptional cases. These figures pre-date this change.”