Police welcome new fine powers

By Danielle NuttallCrime CorrespondentPOLICE have issued 28 fixed penalty fines since they were given the new powers to speed up the way some offenders are dealt with.

By Danielle Nuttall

Crime Correspondent

POLICE have issued 28 fixed penalty fines since they were given the new powers to speed up the way some offenders are dealt with.

The majority of the fines were given for drunk and disorderly behaviour, with the second largest group of offenders being handed the penalty notices for being drunk on a highway.

They were introduced in Suffolk in April, following trials in Essex, the West Midlands and north Wales, and can be issued to adults committing one of 11 offences.

It is was hoped the fixed penalty notices - which result in a fine of either £40 or £80, depending on the type of offence committed - would cut down the amount of paperwork police have to complete after making an arrest, freeing them to spend more time on the beat.

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Offences which result in an £80 fine include wasting police time, making nuisance calls, giving a false alarm to the fire brigade, throwing fireworks and causing alarm or distress.

A further six offences of being drunk and disorderly, trespass on a railway, throwing stones at a train, being drunk on a highway, buying alcohol for someone under 18 and drinking in a designated area can lead to a £40 fine.

Anyone issued with a penalty notice has the option of either paying the fine or appearing before a court.

Jacqui Evans, criminal justice services manager with Suffolk police, said the fixed penalty notices had been welcomed by both officers and offenders.

“It was slow starting because we wanted to make sure the procedures were right, but certainly we are progressively issuing more each month,” she added.

“The officers have been quite positive. What it has meant is the police officer has been able to go straight back on to the street, so it's speeded up the process. They are spending less time on paper work and preparing files.

“Also, the people that have been issued tickets have been in favour of them as well in that instead of going to court and having to take a day off, they can just have the notice issued to them and pay.

“This is just for first-time offenders. Anybody previously brought to police attention for being drunk and disorderly will still have to go to court.

danielle.nuttall@eadt.co.uk

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