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Main offences, penalty amounts and procedures

This page outlines the main offences, how much people will have to pay for each one, the procedure for issuing a penalty notice to adults and juveniles, and how penalty notices are recorded and disclosed.

The main offences

The offences included in the scheme are summary offences where the most likely court outcome would be a fine. Offences for which a penalty notice may be issued include:

  • theft from a shop – Section 1 Theft Act 1968 (retail under £100)
  • cannabis possession - (over 18s only) (second simple possession offence) – Section 5(2) & Sch. 4 Misuse of Drugs Act 1971
  • criminal damage – Section 1(1) Criminal Damage Act 1971 (only applies to damage under £300 in value)
  • using words/conduct likely to cause fear of harassment, alarm or distress – section 5 Public Order Act 1986
  • being drunk and disorderly in a public place – Section 91 Criminal Justice Act 1967

See a list of all offences that the police can issue a penalty notice. 

Penalty amounts

PNDs carry a tariff of £80 and £50 (over 16s), £40 and £30 (10-15 year olds) according to the offence as set by statutory instrument 2009 no. 83 penalties for disorderly behaviour (amount of penalty) (amendment) order 2009.

Adult

The police can issue all PNDs to any individual across England and Wales. This can be issued on the street only by a police officer in uniform or at a police station by an authorised officer.

Once a penalty notice has been issued, in accordance with section 2 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, the recipient may elect within the 21 day suspended enforcement period from the date of issue to either pay the amount shown on the notice in full or request a court hearing. Once issued in accordance with the law, a notice may not be withdrawn or any action taken until the 21 day suspended enforcement period has expired.

Juvenile

The juvenile PND scheme (10-15) differs from the adult scheme in that the parent/guardian or a local authority or voluntary organisation care for a ‘looked after’ child of the recipient is liable to pay the penalty notice.

Recording and disclosure of PNDs

No admission of guilt is required, and by paying the penalty, a recipient discharges liability for conviction for the offence. However, PNDs issued for offences such as retail theft, criminal damage, cannabis possession, and being drunk and disorderly are recorded on the police national computer (PNC). A facility is available on the PNC which allows an entry to be recorded which does not constitute a record of criminal conviction.

PNDs may be disclosed as part of an enhanced criminal records check, if deemed relevant to the enquiry, by the chief officer of police.

More information on disclosure can be found at on the Criminal Records Bureau website. PNDs can also be used in the civil context of seeking an anti-social behaviour order and used as evidence of bad character under Section 101 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

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