Penalty notices for disorder

This section explains the powers created by the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 for the police to issue penalty notices to people aged 16 or over. It also contains links to the police operational guidance and FAQs.

Please note, responsibility for the penalty notice for disorder scheme rests with the Ministry of Justice.

What is a penalty notice for disorder?

A penalty notice for disorder (PND) is a type of fixed penalty notice that can be issued for a specified range of minor disorder offences.

The PND scheme was introduced under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 and implemented in all 43 police forces in England and Wales in 2004. Under the scheme the police may issue anyone aged 16 years or over who has committed a specified penalty offence with a fixed penalty and to those aged 10-15 in seven pilot police forces.


The scheme was introduced as part of the government’s strategy to provide police with a swift financial punishment to deal with misbehaviour and a practical deterrent to future re-offending, giving police nationally an additional option of disposal. Issuing a penalty notice takes an officer approximately 30 minutes compared with 2 ½ hours to prepare an evidential case file.

The aims of the scheme are to:

  • offer operational officers a new, effective alternative means of dealing with low-level, anti-social and nuisance offending
  • deliver swift, simple and effective justice that carries a deterrent effect
  • reduce the amount of time that police officers spend on completing paperwork and attending court, while simultaneously reducing the burden on the courts
  • increasing the amount of time officers spend on the street and dealing with more serious crime and to free the courts to deal with more serious offending

The proper use of PNDs as an effective disposal for low-level offending is key to ensuring that public confidence in the scheme and the criminal justice system is not only maintained but enhanced.

PNDs issued to children and teenagers contribute to the important agenda of establishing frameworks to stop children falling through the net, tackling their risk factors and intervening as problems emerge – by dealing in a positive way with young people who offend, by reinforcing children’s own sense of responsibility and parents’ sense of responsibility for the child and by providing a trigger for wider supportive action where it is needed.


Penalty notices for disorder statistics 2009 England and Wales
For current statistical information on PNDs please refer to chapter 2: penalty notices for disorder. For the full comprehensive PND statistics please refer to supplementary tables (Excel spreadsheets in zip files) volume 3, parts 9 to 12.

Do you have questions?

Visit our frequently asked questions page.

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, please email the PND Enquiries team.

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