Price of unruly behaviour in county

AT least £121,850 has been generated in fines for unruly behaviour in Suffolk over the last two years.Figures released to The Evening Star under the Freedom of Information Act show that Suffolk police issued 2,437 Penalty Notices for Disorder (PNDs) in 2005 and 2006 with the minimum penalty imposed £50.

AT least £121,850 has been generated in fines for unruly behaviour in Suffolk over the last two years.

Figures released to The Evening Star under the Freedom of Information Act show that Suffolk police issued 2,437 Penalty Notices for Disorder (PNDs) in 2005 and 2006 with the minimum penalty imposed £50.

The revenue generated was then forwarded to the government's Department of Constitutional Affairs. Suffolk police began issuing the notices, similar to fixed penalty tickets issued for driving offences, in 2004 in-line with national policy.

The following year, in 2005, 919 notices were issued for a variety of offences.

That figure increased by 65per cent in 2006, when the force issued 1,518 of the disorder tickets.

Geoff Munns, Suffolk police's development manager for the force's criminal justice department, said: “The significant rise in their use can be explained by the increased adoption of the sanction by front line staff, as the new provisions have settled down, coupled with their use as part of high profile and pro-active campaigns, such as zero-tolerance operations to deter alcohol related violence.”

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The notices can be issued for a range of offences including dropping litter, minor graffiti offences or fly posting, not clearing up dog fouling and excessive noise.

Mr Munns added: “The figures include a range of offences which might be described as anti-social and which the new provisions allow to be disposed of by PNDs (as long as certain criteria are met) - rather than by arrest and charge, for example threatening behaviour, drunkenness, damaging property and depositing litter.”

The notices can be issued by police constables and designated police community support officers.

The aim of the notices is to offer police a quick, effective, alternative means of dealing with low-level anti-social and nuisance offending and to deliver swift and effective justice.

It also means officers can spend more time on the street and more time dealing with serious crime.

The fines range from £50 to £80, with the top end likely to increase to £100 in the next few months.

Do you think penalty notices are a good idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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