1.1 Part 1, Chapter 1 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 introduced Penalty Notices, for a range of offences involving minor disorder or anti-social behaviour. This scheme continues to provide a highly effective method of dealing with minor offences, thereby freeing up officers to return to operational duties and reducing court delays. It gives officers an additional method of disposal for dealing with minor offences.
1.2 Section 87(2) of the Anti-social behaviour Act 2003 allows for the issue of Penalty Notices for Disorder (PNDs) to persons aged 16 years or over.
1.3 The following is a summary of all current offences being made available for this type of disposal.
1.4 The current schedule of PND offences effective from 1/11/04 is shown in Appendix A.
2.1 Appendix B provides a simple flow chart, showing the Penalty Notice process. The option of issuing a PND is in addition to existing forms of disposal for these offences, (i.e. report for summons, charge, caution / reprimand / final warning, etc.), either on the street, or following arrest. Officers may only issue a PND where there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the alleged offender for that offence.
2.2 Powers of arrest for offences included in the PND scheme remain unchanged and should be exercised where appropriate.
2.3 A Penalty Notice will only be issued in relation to simple, straight forward cases. PNDs will NOT be issued where the offence includes any aggravating circumstances, including:
2.5 PNDs should only ever be issued in minor, straight forward cases, as an alternative to either a charge/summons or a formal police caution / reprimand / final warning.
2.6 The issuing of PNDs is not limited to offences directly witnessed by police officers. Officers may issue a PND based upon evidence provided by other reliable witnesses. Where it is necessary to bail people to complete enquiries, a PND can be issued on their return to custody as a means of disposal.
2.7 No-one has the right to demand a PND and no-one should be forced to accept a PND. There is no requirement for offenders to admit an offence in order for a PND to be issued. The fact that an offender appears to be intending to contest a case does not necessarily preclude the issuing of a PND, and officers should consider issuing a PND in appropriate cases as offenders may elect to pay a PND fine some time later, having re-considered their situation. Where an offender clearly refuses to accept a PND, officers should revert to existing disposal options. Once a PND has been issued then no alternative form of disposal should be considered.
2.8 Penalty Notices will not be issued where another more serious non PND offence is known to be involved and in these circumstances all offences should be charged together. Where an offender under 16 is jointly responsible for a PND offence with an offender 16 years or over, officers will not issue the older offender with a PND, reverting instead to existing forms of disposal.
2.9 Before issuing a PND it is essential that officers carry out the fullest identity checks possible, including ID documents, driving licence, etc. together with PNC, Oasis, and Voters Index. A PND will not be appropriate where the alleged offender has no satisfactory address for enforcement purposes.
2.10 Officers may note that Wasting Police Time is a PND offence, and requires DPP consent for prosecution, however for the purposes of the PND scheme, officers may issue PNDs for minor instances of this offence without recourse to CPS advice.
2.11 Where it is clear that offenders are unable to pay a penalty notice, officers will not issue a PND and existing forms of disposal should be considered. Part payments will not be accepted by the Fixed Penalty Office under any circumstances, and where full payment is not received within 21 days, any monies paid will be returned to offenders, reiterating that full payment is required with 21 days.
3.1 At a police station, a PND can be issued by any constable or special constable, whether in uniform or not. Custody Officer Assistants, (COAs) are not authorised to issue PND’s under any circumstances.
3.2 Where it is decided that a PND disposal is appropriate, officers dealing with the offender should issue the PND and the custody officer should refuse charge the offender for that offence. Custody records should be endorsed accordingly with the PND serial number together with details of the issuing officer, and custody officers should use the ‘Penalty Notice’ disposal screen on ICIS on completion of the process.
3.3 Where officers choose to report or charge an offender with a penalty notice offence, officers should record the reasons why a PND was not deemed to be appropriate on the confidential information form (MG6). This may be due to the severity of the offence, aggravating circumstances, offenders’ demeanour, previous PNDs issued or local directives in place to deal with a crime and disorder hotspot. This will enable CPS to respond to any queries raised by Magistrates or defence lawyers, and should prevent court sentencing from undermining the level of PND fines where guilt is proved.
3.4 Where a PND is issued and officers subsequently find that a PND disposal was not appropriate, (for example, where fuller details of an offender’s criminal history becomes known, or further evidence regarding the seriousness of the offence emerges), a PND can be withdrawn and an offender prosecuted for an offence in exceptional circumstances, but only where the offender fails to respond to the PND within 21 days. Officers should contact CTO without delay to ensure that the PND is withdrawn, and a full prosecution file for the original offence, including details as to why the PND has been withdrawn, should be forwarded to the appropriate Process Dept. for the raising of summons.
4.1 A Penalty Notice may be issued by a constable or special constable in uniform ‘on the street’ (This can include any public or private place). Where the offence is a recordable offence i.e. requiring fingerprints, photographs and DNA to be taken, PNDs should continue to be issued in custody only.
4.2 An officer may issue a PND on the street for a non-recordable offence where:
4.3 Where an offender’s identity cannot be confirmed, or where offenders are drunk, likely to become violent, or are non-compliant, etc. officers will not issue PNDs on the street, and will take positive action including arresting offenders where necessary. There is no power to arrest or detain an offender purely to issue a PND and officers must have sufficient grounds to arrest using existing powers of arrest, (e.g. Section 25 PACE 1984, power of arrest for Section 5 Public Order Act 1986, etc.). Where grounds to detain an offender no longer exist, for example where an offender calms down or their name and address have been confirmed en route to a police station, officers will not delay their release and will issue PNDs as soon as practicable.
5.1 PND disposal may not be appropriate for those who are known to be substance abusers. In these circumstances a charge may be more appropriate to enable drug-testing procedures to be initiated. Such people may be more appropriately dealt with by a court, which can direct them to a suitable substance treatment programme.
6.1 Officers should exercise particular care when dealing with 16 / 17 year olds. The PND system does not replace or supersede the established system of Reprimands and Final Warnings for juvenile offenders. Officers may elect to issue 16 / 17 year olds with a PND if this is deemed to be the most appropriate disposal in the circumstances. As with all juvenile disposal decisions, the Duty Inspector and Custody Sergeant should be consulted before any decision is reached.
7.1 Officers should seek and record the views of all victims before making a decision on the most appropriate course of action. The victim should be consulted about the potential issue of a PND for the offence and their views taken into account when reaching a decision. However, the final decision on whether to issue a PND rests with the officer. PND disposal will not be appropriate where the offender is not compliant.
7.2 In all cases where there is an identified victim, officers should be mindful that a PND disposal removes the possibility of the criminal court awarding a compensation order in favour of the victim. However the victim would retain the right to seek redress through civil litigation and PND disposal will save the victim from having to attend court to give evidence. The victim should be made aware of this.
8.1 Penalty notice disposal, in particular for theft and criminal damage, will be appropriate for low level, usually first time, offending. Penalty notice disposal will not be appropriate for those who repeatedly offend where prosecution will be considered more suitable. However, the length of time that has passed since any previous offence should be taken into account and officers should use discretion, based upon the individual circumstances of each case to judge whether a PND would be an appropriate disposal. For specific instructions relating to 16/17 year olds see paragraph 6.
8.2 In relation to theft, PND disposal may be used for shoplifting offences only where the value of property stolen is under £200. However, where thefts involve property over the value of £100, these will generally be expected to be dealt with by existing disposal, e.g. prosecution. PND disposal over this value (£100-£200), would be exceptional and require the explicit agreement of the victim/retailer.
8.3 It is expected that in most cases of theft suitable for PND disposal the property will have been recovered, although the value of the property will be relevant in assessing seriousness.
8.4 PND disposal may be used for criminal damage where the damage caused is less than £500. Officers will need to record the correct Home Office classification for criminal damage on the ticket, (i.e. Criminal Damage Other, Dwelling, Other Building or Vehicle). PNDs are not to be use for arson, racially aggravated offences, or threats to commit criminal damage offences under any circumstances. Criminal damage involving values over £300 will generally be expected to be dealt with by existing disposal, e.g. prosecution, unless it involves public property. PND disposal for offences over this value, (£300-£500) would be exceptional (except for public property) and require explicit agreement of the victim/retailer.
8.5 Officers should use their best judgment and discretion when assessing property values, as they currently do when compiling crime reports. The advice of a supervisor should be sought where necessary.
8.6 Officers will need to consider the relative seriousness of the offence and its effect on the victim. Account should be also taken of the effect of the incident on any staff.
9.1 PND disposal will not be appropriate for licensees. Licensees need to be prosecuted in order to ensure that offences are recorded to support action to revoke a licence.
9.2 PND disposal may be appropriate for bar staff when taking action against premises found or known to be serving alcohol to under age drinkers. However, due account needs to be taken of the need to record such offences against the individual concerned and the intrusive management of licensed premises under the Force Safer Nights strategy.
10.1 All recordable offences dealt with by way of a PND must now go onto the PNC via ICIS interface. This is a national requirement. Fingerprints and photographs and where necessary DNA, is to be taken from persons subject to PND disposal taking place in custody. (Recordable offences are shown at Appendix A).
10.2 A pilot scheme examining recording and sampling issues for the street issue of PNDs for recordable offences will follow.
11.1 Completion and submission of PNDs is detailed below. Once issued with a PND, offenders have two options:
i. Pay the fine within 21 days to the Fixed Penalty Office, (FPO) at Birmingham Magistrates, which is operating as FPO for the entire force area. Payment of a PND fine is not an admission of guilt and discharges liability for prosecution for that offence.
NOTE. No payment of PND fines will be accepted by officers or police staff under any circumstances. Offenders CAN NOT pay PND fines at police stations and offenders will be instructed to pay the penalty as per instructions on Part 2 of the PND. Where payment is posted to police stations in error, they should be forwarded to CTO without delay.
ii. Request a court hearing, by returning the appropriate part of the PND to the CTO. CTO will then forward the PND to the CJU of the issuing officer, who will ensure that a full file is prepared for trial. Completed files will be forwarded to the appropriate Process Department or CJU responsible for the raising of summons, which will take place in the normal way.
11.2 Where an offender fails to respond to a PND, the fine is increased to 1½ times the amount after 21 days. Further failure to pay will result, in most cases, in the registration of the penalty as a fine, which will be enforced by the courts. In exceptional circumstances, PNDs may be withdrawn and offenders prosecuted for the original offence, (see 3.4 above).
12.1 Revised PND tickets have been printed since the scheme was first introduced to incorporate changes which have been made to the scheme. OCU administration departments are responsible for recalling old PND tickets when revised tickets are issued. Officers must ensure that they are issuing the correct PND ticket. A list of offences can be found on the inside cover of the ticket, together with guidance on which offences require a crime number to be issued, and/or fingerprints, photographs and DNA taken.
13.1 Each PND consists of six parts on four pages, which will be completed as below.
13.1.1 PNDs consist of a carbonated multi-page ticket and officers need to exercise care to ensure that each page of the ticket is legible. Incomplete or illegible PNDs will be returned by CTO to originating officers for remedial action.
13.1.2 Page one, (white in colour), containing parts 1, 2 and 3, will be the suspects copy of the PND and includes full details of what action they should take on receipt of the PND. The remaining three coloured pages, containing parts 4, 5, 6a and 6b should be firmly fixed together, and submitted before the issuing officer finishes their tour of duty. PNDs will be forwarded without delay to CTO in the same manner as existing traffic PNDs.
Officers should complete all fields in this part of the PND. Officers should invite offenders to sign part 1 of the PND in the appropriate field, acknowledging receipt of the PND. Signature is NOT an admission of guilt by the offender. There is no power to require a signature and offenders are under no obligation to sign. Where offenders refuse to sign, officers should indicate this in the signature field.
13.1.4 The officer issuing the PND to the offender should enter their details in the appropriate fields in Part 1. The issuing officer need not be the main police witness, and therefore could be an officer dealing with the offender as part of a ‘handover’ following arrest.
13.1.5 Where an offender in custody may be subject to a PND disposal after some delay, to allow them to sober up/calm down, etc. the arresting officer may consider part completing a PND, including the statement of witness on part 6B, (see below), to hand over to other officers. Where a PND is subsequently not used for any reason, a PND should be clearly marked as VOID and forwarded to CTO. Where a void PND is required for disclosure purposes, a photocopy of the PND should be forwarded to CTO.
13.2.1 The top of Part 1 of the ticket now includes a box for a crime number to be inserted where one of the 3 notifiable (‘crimeable’) offences is committed. If the offence does not require a crime number, officers are to leave this blank. The new ticket has been designed to include all the information required by Crime Inputters to generate a crime number. Where a PND has been issued for a ‘crimeable’ offence, officers must ‘crime scan’ part 4 of the ticket as per current OCU arrangements with regard to crime recording. Crime Inputters can create a crime record and detect it using the offender’s details on the ticket. (See also paragraph 15.2 below). Officers are not required to complete a separate crime report and WC201.
13.2.2 It is crucial that officers and supervisors ensure the ticket is legible prior to ‘crime scanning’ it. The completed ticket will be forwarded to the Central Ticket Office as per current arrangements. No section of the ticket will be filed on OCU.
To be completed by the suspect, when paying the fine.
To be completed by the suspect when requesting a court hearing).
Offender details will copy through from page 1. ‘Additional Details of Recipient’ at bottom of page to be completed in every case, including IC code and Ethnicity 16 + 1 code.
13.6 There is no requirement for officers to complete the ‘Local Authority Code’ field in part 4.
All fields should copy through from previous two pages.
Officers MUST provide as detailed a description of an offender as possible, to enable identification should offenders subsequently choose to dispute identification. This should include details of marks, scars, tattoos, etc. Where relevant video footage or photographs of offenders exists, (e.g. custody video recording, or intelligence photos/recording taken by officers with digital cameras, etc.), officers should note where tapes or discs are stored with appropriate reference numbers in the ‘Additional Notes’ field. Relevant comments made by the offender after caution, etc. should be noted in the ‘Reply to Caution’ field. Officers should also note what ID checks were done in case of identification issues at a later date. In addition to the existing checks, officers are required to record any PNC/ID number for the offender for those offences that are recorded onto the PNC.
13.9 Officers should include any other information they deem necessary in the ‘Additional Notes’ field, which could include details of other witnesses, etc. Where an offender is arrested in relation to a PND offence, the PIC number will be entered in the appropriate field.
13.10 NOTE Where disclosure of part 6A is required in subsequent court cases, CJUs and officers preparing files should ensure that all details of non police witnesses included in part 6A are edited PRIOR to disclosure to the defence.
This part comprises of a Statement of Witness, to be completed by the main police witness to the offence in question. Officers should complete as full a statement as necessary. In view of the limited space in part 6B officers should continue on a form MG11a, (witness statement, continuation sheet), if necessary. There is no requirement for any other statements to be included at this stage, but any continuation sheets or additional statements (e.g. from a third party witness or an officer who handed over the investigation having already completed a traditional MG11) should be attached securely to the rear of the PND when submitted to CTO.
14.1 Due to continuing issues with legibility and data quality experienced by CTO, part 6B of the revised PND ticket incorporates a supervisors check prior to submission. All PNDs must be examined and signed by a supervisor prior to submission to ensure that they are completed accurately and are legible. Appropriate action should be taken by supervisors where officers are found to be using PNDs inappropriately or incorrectly. HQ Operations will continue to monitor PND quality on a monthly basis. OCU Operations Managers will be informed where PNDs have been rejected by CTO, and officers’ details forwarded for remedial action.
15.1 Officers should note that the PND scheme now contains 3 notifiable offences, (Section 5 Public Order Act, Theft and Criminal Damage). These offences all require a crime number. A PND disposal will constitute a sanctioned detection for the purposes of crime recording, and as such will count as offences brought to justice.
15.2 Paragraph 13.2.1 above details the arrangements for crime recording where a ticket has been issued at or shortly after the incident. In these circumstances officers simply ‘crime scan’ the ticket and Crime Inputters can create the necessary report on CRIMES. Where a crime report has already been initiated and the offence subsequently detected following enquires resulting in a PND being issued, officers can record the crime number on the PND and ‘crime scan’ as above in place of a WC201. Crime Inputters and Screeners should use the clear up code of 13 as the detection code on CRIMES.
15.3 Under no circumstances are PNDs to be used to detect/clear other offences outside the scope of this scheme. For example. A Section 4 Public Order offence ‘crimed’ as such cannot be cleared with a Section 5 PND. Similarly an incident ‘crimed’ as attempt burglary cannot be cleared with a PND for Criminal Damage. Performance Review Department regularly audit this area and will reject any detections by PND which are deemed an abuse of this system. If officers have any doubt about the validity of a detection by a PND, they should consult their OCU Crime Assessor or Force Crime Registrar.
16.1 Design & Print Department, HQ, are responsible for distributing PNDs to OCUs as per arrangements for existing traffic FPNs. They will update Central Ticket Office, (CTO) with batch numbers of PNDs issued to each OCU / department.
16.2 OCU/departmental administration departments are responsible for ensuring that they have sufficient PNDs for their needs and should update Design & Print Dept. with requests for additional PNDs as soon as the need is anticipated. OCU / departmental administration departments will be responsible for issuing PNDs to individual officers and will ensure that a sufficient stock is available for use in designated custody facilities.
17.1 CTO will be the central point of contact for all enquiries & correspondence in relation to PNDs. All enquiries relating to individual PNDs received by OCUs/departments (for example letters of mitigation, etc.) will be directed to the CTO for recording and action. CTO will either respond to enquiries itself, or may seek views of the relevant OCU/department before responding.
17.2 CTO will retain all PNDs forwarded to them for 2 years, in accordance with WMP force destruction policy.