Frequently asked questions

These are the questions we hear the most often. To see the answer, click on the question.

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  • Why are the penalties set at different levels for 16 year olds and 10-15 year olds?

    The 30 and 40 penalties set for 10-15 year olds were set to fall in line with the usual levels of fines that courts issue to that particular age group. 
  • Can PNDs for cannabis possession be given to under 18s?

    No. PNDs for cannabis possession should not be given to under 18s. They  should instead be dealt with under Section 65 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 which requires young people be considered for reprimand, final warning or prosecution.
  • Does receiving a penalty notice count as a conviction?

    No. Receipt of a penalty notice offers the recipient the opportunity to discharge their liability to conviction for the offence to which the notice relates or to request a court hearing. Payment of a penalty involves neither a finding nor an acceptance of guilt and removes the possibility of being proceeded against or gaining a record of criminal conviction for the offence for which the notice was issued.
  • Will a penalty notice be disclosed by the CRB to a potential employer?

    Possibly. Although a penalty notice is not a conviction it will be recorded in police records. A penalty notice may be disclosed on a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) Enhanced Disclosure if it considered to be relevant to the post being applied for by a chief police officer.  An Enhanced Disclosure is only available to those intending to work with children or vulnerable adults.  Further information about the CRB can be found on the Criminal Records Bureau website.
  • Will a penalty notice be notified to my current employer under the Notifiable Occupations Scheme?

    Possibly.  Although a penalty notice is not a conviction it will be recorded in police records. A penalty notice may be notified to a regulatory body or your employer, if it is considered relevant to your job. Certain sensitive occupations, including those working with the vulnerable, national security and the law, are included in the Notifiable Occupations Scheme. The Scheme is separate to the CRB?s Disclosure service.  Further information about the Notifiable Occupations Scheme can be in Home Office Circular 6/06.
  • What happens if the recipient of a notice is found guilty at court?

    If found guilty the recipient of a notice may be subject to the maximum penalty allowed for that offence in law. They will receive a criminal conviction, which may be subject to public disclosure, and they may be ordered to pay costs.
  • What happens if the recipient requests a hearing?

    A hearing is convened and a summons issued to the recipient of the notice as if a charge had been laid. Only the recipient of the penalty notice can make the choice to go to court or make the payment. For 10-15 year olds, while it would be for the parent/legal guardian who is expected to pay the penalty of this option is chosen, it is only the actual recipient of the penalty notice for disorder who can make the decision to go to court or not.
  • Who can get a penalty notice?

    The penalty notice for disorder scheme was introduced for person aged 18 or over. It was extended to 16 and 17 year olds from 20 January 2004. The scheme was further extended to 10-15 year olds in legislation passed in September 2004 but is currently only available for 7 police forces.
  • What happens if the recipient takes no action?

    If the penalty notice recipient neither pays nor elects to have a hearing within the 21 day period, then a fine of one and a half times the value of the original penalty is enforced by the courts in the normal way. However in exceptional circumstances, the police may seek to bring a prosecution for the original offence. The parents or legal guardians of 10-15 year olds are liable for the penalty if it is registered as a fine.
  • Who can issue PNDs?

    PNDs can be issued for all penalty offences and for all age groups by police officers in England or Wales. It is entirely a matter for the Chief Officer of Police whether some or all constables will be authorised to issue penalty notices at the police station, or indeed constables from any other force (such as the British Transport Police).

    Police community support officers (PCSOs) and Accredited Persons can issue some but not all penalty notices for disorder as they do not have the power of arrest and their powers to detain people are limited.

    PCSOs may issue PNDs for all penalty offences except retail theft and leaving or depositing litter (they already have the power to issue littering FPNs on behalf of local authorities).

    Accredited persons (persons accredited by Chief Constables) may issue PNDs for penalty offences excluding retail theft, criminal damage and leaving or depositing littering (they have the power to issue local authority FPNs for littering). Also for offences directly involving drunkenness, i.e. drunk and disorderly behaviour and being drunk in the highway or other public place or licensed premises.  The Police and Justice Act 2006 specifically extends the range of those who may be directly accredited to Trading Standard Officers (TSOs).  The power will be used to enable TSO?s to issue penalty notices for selling alcohol to a person under the age of 18.

    Only police officers may issue PNDs to 10-15 year olds.

  • Where did the pilots for PNDs for 10-15 year olds take place and how long did they last?

    The 10-15 year olds pilots took place in:

    • West Midlands (including the British Transport Police)
    • Essex
    • Merseyside
    • Lancashire
    • Nottinghamshire
    • Metropolitan (Kingston only)

    The pilots ran for a year and have now been evaluated. Planning for further roll-out is now underway.