On-the-spot fines for ten year olds

Parents and guardians of children  who commit anti-social
behaviour offences could be fined up to £40 under a new
government scheme.

The year-long pilot, launched at the end of December, gives
powers to seven police forces in England to hand out fixed penalty
notices to 10-15 year olds for offences such as underage drinking,
vandalism, harassment and firework offences. Refusal to pay the
on-the-spot fine could result in an increased fine, a parenting
order or even the jailing of the parent or guardian.

The Home Office has sent operational guidelines to police
forces, stressing that fixed penalty notices should only be issued
for low-level, non-serious offending, with prosecution being sought
for repeated or serious offences.

As well as attempting to make parents and guardians more
responsible for their children’s behaviour, the Home Office
says the scheme is designed to see first-time, petty offending
dealt with quickly, keeping the young person outside of the
criminal justice system.

Since the Penalty Notice for Disorder scheme for over-16s was
introduced nationally last April, over 40,000 on-the-spot fines
have been issued, with a 12-month pilot scheme showing a 70 per
cent payment rate. The penalty for the 10-15 age group, at
£30-£40, is lower than the £50-£80 penalty for

The police forces piloting the scheme for 10-15 year olds are
Essex, Lancashire, Merseyside, Nottinghamshire, West Midlands, the
West Midlands division of the British Transport Police and the
Kingston Division of the Metropolitan Police.

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