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Last Updated: Monday, 17 September 2007, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
Penalty fines for street offences
Teenagers
Police said the move would cut anti-social behaviour
On-the-spot fines for low level crime can now be issued in Scotland's largest police force area.

Strathclyde Police officers can issue 40 fixed penalty notices for minor offences that would normally require court action.

Actions liable for punishment include minor breaches of the peace, vandalism, drinking alcohol in public, noise nuisance and urinating in public.

The powers mark the completion of a national roll-out of the scheme.

Officers said a Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) pilot in Tayside saved valuable court time, with just 1% of people fined requesting a trial.

Crime and offences are on the increase, police stations are going part-time and now we have pay-as-you-go criminals
Bill Aitken
Scottish Conservatives

Strathclyde Police Assistant Chief Constable Kevin Smith, said: "Currently, for even the most minor offences, our officers have to formally charge the offender, then spend time in the police station preparing reports to be sent to the procurator fiscal for consideration of a prosecution.

"Court appearances, if they occur, can be many, many months down the line.

"These penalty tickets will allow officers to deal there and then with certain offences."

People issued with the notices will have 28 days to pay the fine or opt for a court trial, with fines rising to 60 if the offender fails to pay.

They will not be issued to anyone under the age of 16 and are not recorded as a criminal conviction, although the information will be retained for two years.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said FPNs will help deter anti-social behaviour.

FPN OFFENCES
Riotous behaviour while drunk in a licensed premises
Refusing to leave a licensed premises
Urinating or defecating in circumstances causing annoyance to others
Drunk and incapable
Drunk in public in charge of a child
Persisting, to the annoyance of others, in playing musical instruments, singing, playing radios etc.
Vandalism
Drinking alcohol in public
Breach of the peace
Malicious mischief

He said: "Officers across Scotland will have the ability take swift and visible action against lower level offences, while being able to spend more time where the public want them - on our streets.

"Evidence from the pilot in Tayside also suggests that the penalties can deter people from similar misdemeanours in future."

Mr MacAskill said the use of fixed penalty notices helped free up police time as well as reducing the time prosecutors and courts spend dealing with more minor offenders.

He added that the Scottish Government was also committed to a specific review of the scheme, including looking at which offences they can be imposed for and the level of the fines, after 12 months.

Criminal record

Catherine Dyer, area procurator fiscal for Glasgow and Strathkelvin, said that the roll-out of fixed penalty notices across Strathclyde would allow anti-social offences to be dealt with immediately.

Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Bill Aitken said: "People could commit a multitude of crimes and yet merely get on-the-spot-fines, without any proper criminal record.

"Crime and offences are on the increase, police stations are going part-time and now we have pay-as-you-go criminals."

He added: "Whilst reducing pressure on our police and criminal justice system is a laudable aim, it cannot be done for the convenience of the criminal or to massage crime statistics."


SEE ALSO
Police use cameras to cut crime
09 Aug 07 |  Glasgow and West
City moves to curb noise nuisance
20 May 07 |  Glasgow and West
Police given new disorder powers
13 Feb 07 |  Tayside and Central

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