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Street Justice

Police issue on-the-spot penalty fines once every three minutes - Times Online
On-the-spot fines for crimes such as being drunk and disorderly, destroying property and shoplifting are being issued at a rate of one every three minutes, according to latest police figures.

The number handed in England and Wales rose by almost 40 per cent in a year as police officers on the streets made use of a swift and economical way of dealing with offenders. But the surge in the use of penalty notices for disorder (PND) has also helped police to meet a key government target because they count towards a ministerial pledge to increase the number of crimes “brought to justice”.

Police representatives claim that the need to meet the target of bringing 1.25 million offences to justice in 2007 to 2008 has “corrupted” the use of PNDs by encouraging officers to use them inappropriately.

Chief Superintendent Derek Barnett, vice-president of the Police Superintendents’ Association, said: “Experience suggests that when used sensibly PNDs have been a useful tool for the police service. But the emphasis on targets for ‘bringing offences to justice’ has corrupted their use.

“Policing is often about common sense and resolving difficult circumstances with discretion. But some individual officers are choosing not to use their discretion perhaps because they feel it is a way of fulfilling the Government’s target.”

Offenders pay either a £50 or £80 penalty even though they may have caused criminal damage of £500 or stolen up to £200 of goods from a shop. Representatives of shopkeepers bitterly oppose PNDs, claiming that they encourage shoplifting by effectively letting offenders off. Today’s figures, obtained by The Times, also fuel growing concern at the rise of a summary justice system parallel to the formal court process.

And to think we used to have a Bill of Rights that promised that " all ... fines and forfeitures ... before conviction are illegal and void" but all that tiresome lawyering stuff was too much for Tony - He was often mocked for using 1984 as an instruction manual but maybe he was also reading the 2000 AD comic
In the fictional future history of the series, the role of "Judge" combines those of judge and police officer, thus avoiding long legal wrangles by allowing for criminals to be tried and sentenced on the spot.
.. While there was heavy protest in Congress over the idea of abandoning due process, the electorate was in favour and the President .. was re-elected with a massive majority

Comments

Totally agree with the BoR sentiments. But assuming that the Lords and Masters don't give a rat's bum about little inconveniences like that, has anyone else spotted the rather blatent bit of book cooking going on here?

The issuing of the ticket counts as the "successful conclusion of crime prevension operations"? The fact that the now booked probably chav walks off laughing with absolutely no intention of ever shelling out the cash seems to have escaped the leadership. Or maye it hasn't.

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