“The government must restrict the use of Penalty Notices for Disorder to the most minor of offences. The reality is they don’t deter crime and a lot are never paid. “It’s high time we were allowed to get back to some common sense policing, using our discretion, and putting these persistent offenders before the courts. Otherwise they are just laughing in the face of the law and feel confident to go on to bigger and more serious criminal activity.”Of course the main flaw in the "brilliant idea" is that yobs being yobs, they tend to give false identities when they are being fined. Who'd have thunk it? You may have noticed that Jan Berry said: "putting these persistent offenders before the courts" And there's a good reason for that - you do not get a criminal record no matter how many "on the spot" fines you receive.
Alan Gordon, vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, says:
"Let’s look at the reality of fixed penalty notices. Currently a third (now 50%) go unpaid and those who receive them get no criminal conviction. The Sentencing Advisory Panel suggestion that shoplifters (for example) could avoid jail no matter how many times they commit the offence is a disgrace. It sends out the wrong message at a time when the police and the public alike are sick to death of a criminal justice system which is far too lenient on those who break the law. The term shoplifting is misleading. It is stealing, and stealing is a crime and should be dealt with as such. The ultimate deterrent to any criminal is a prison sentence. We need more prisons, not a short term fix which will only encourage crime, not tackle it.”This is just another Labour quick fix aimed at gathering money that doesn't work.