They were introduced in Northern Ireland on the 6th June 2012 as a result of the Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 and provide another valuable deterrent. What are the benefits?
PNDs provide us with a way to deal with public disorder offences quickly and, if complied with, the offender does not need to be taken through the court system. They act as a financial deterrent for offences which cause a public nuisance and allow us to deal with the matter quickly. This approach allows officers to get back to keeping people safe rather than spending a considerable time preparing a court file for prosecution. Issuing a penalty notice takes an officer approximately 30 minutes compared with up to 8 hours or more to manage a typical evidential case file.
The aims of the scheme are to:
- Offer operational officers an effective alternative means of dealing with low-level, anti-social and nuisance offending.
- Deliver simple and effective justice that carries a financial penalty.
- 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.