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Fixed Penalties

Volume 455: debated on Monday 8 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many fixed penalties were issued in each of the last five years; for what offences such penalties were issued; in what circumstances the victims are consulted before a fixed penalty is issued; and what percentage of fixed penalty fines were paid in each year. (104490)

Information on fixed penalty notices issued for endorsable and non-endorsable motoring offences, including data on payments and other disposals, can be found in the annual Home Office publication “Offences relating to motor vehicles, England and Wales, Supplementary tables” in Tables 20(a) to 20(c) and 21 (a) and 21 (b) The latest figures are for 2004. The publication is available in the Library or via the following web link:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs06/hosb0506supp.pdf

Data on the number of fixed penalty notices issued for environmental offences are available via the following link on the Defra website:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/localenv/legislation/fpn/

Under the Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND) scheme, police can issue fixed penalty notices of £50 or £80 for a range of disorder offences as set out in the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 (as amended).

Police can issue fixed penalty notices of £80 for offences of criminal damage (limited to damage under £500) and (retail) theft (under £200) which will normally have victims. However, guidance to the police makes it clear that cases of criminal damage over £300, and thefts over £100, should normally be dealt with by the courts: PNDs should only be issued in exceptional circumstances with the agreement of the victim/retailer. The guidance also states that police should seek and record the victim's views and consult them about the potential issue of a PND, including the effect on the victim's claims for compensation.

I am placing in the House Library data on the number of penalty notices for disorder issued by offence and police force area in England and Wales in 2004, 2005 and provisional data from January to June 2006.

The initial payment rate for PNDs was 53 per cent. in 2005; an increase of 1 per cent. on 2004. (Only 1 per cent. requested a court hearing.) 42 per cent. of PND recipients had a fine of one and a half times the penalty registered against them as they failed to pay the penalty or request a court hearing within the 21-day suspended enforcement period. Once registered, these fines fall into the HMCS fine enforcement and collection systems. The courts are currently achieving an overall payment rate for fines of 95 per cent.