Police-issued penalty notices

A penalty notice is a fine. Police officers can issue penalty notices to people aged 18 years or older for certain offences. The fine can be £45.00 or £85.00 and includes a £5.00 offender levy. Police can give you a penalty notice instead of prosecuting you for some offences.

Offences where a penalty notice can be issued

You can get a penalty notice for certain offences.

Offence penalty notice
indecent behaviour (only for urination in the street) £40.00 (plus a £5.00 offender levy)
drunk in a public place £40.00 (plus a £5.00 offender levy)
disorderly behaviour £80.00 (plus a £5.00 offender levy)
behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace £80.00 (plus a £5.00 offender levy)
obstructing police £80.00 (plus a £5.00 offender levy)
criminal damage (up to a value of £200) £80.00 (plus a £5.00 offender levy)
theft (shoplifting up to a value of £100) £80.00 (plus a £5.00 offender levy)

If you are offered a penalty notice

If you accept a penalty notice you must either pay the full amount or ask that the matter be heard by a court within 28 days of the date of issue. The penalty notice explains how to pay the penalty or ask for a court hearing.

If you accept a penalty notice but don't pay the penalty or request a court hearing within the 28 day period, the penalty increases by 50 per cent to £60.00 or £120.00. A court will also be involved to enforce the penalty notice as if it were a fine imposed by that court. The £5.00 offender levy will not increase, but you still need to pay it.

If you decline the offer of a penalty notice, the police officer can take other action, including prosecution.

Penalty notices and criminal record checks

Payment of a penalty notice does not require an admission of guilt and will not result in a criminal record.

A record that you have been issued with a penalty notice will be kept, and that information may be used to decide if you are eligible to receive another penalty notice in the future. The penalty notice provides an opportunity for first time and non-habitual offenders to avoid court and a possible criminal record. It will not be available to someone who repeatedly offends.

Penalty notices are recorded on the police computer system and might be shown on an enhanced disclosure certificate.

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