Saturday, 1 September 2007

WEST SCOTLAND: Drunken yobs face £40 on-spot fines

Drunken yobs face £40 on-spot fines

Drunken revellers whodisplay riotous' behaviour in the street will be fined £40 by police

Drunken revellers whodisplay riotous'
behaviour in the street will be fined £40 by police

DRUNKEN yobs and vandals in west Scotland will be hit with on-the-spot £40 fines from next month.

Police will have the power to issue the fixed penalties for riotous' drunken behaviour, urinating in the street and being drunk and incapable in public.

Other offences covered by the crackdown include breach of the peace, being drunk in charge of a child and minor vandalism.

Fire-hydrant vandals and noisy neighbours, who persistently play loud music, will also risk a fine.

The measures aim to cut anti-social behaviour and free up more time for police to spend on patrol.

Strathclyde Police will become the last force in Scotland to introduce the fixed penalty fines on September 17.

Chief Constable Willie Rae said: "This approach will reduce police reporting and court attendance and allow officers to spend more time on patrol.

"We are working towards fixed-penalty notices being introduce as an operational case disposal option throughout the force area."

Figures, from a year-long pilot in Tayside, show officers saved 1300 hours by reducing court appearances for minor offences.

The tickets take around 10-15 minutes to issue, compared with 45 minutes' work to complete a prosecution report at a police station.

Offenders have 28 days to pay the £40 fine, which rises to £60 after the deadline, and can be challenged in a district court.

Around 80% of the fines were paid in full during the Tayside pilot, with 65% settled within 28 days.

An Executive spokesman said: "Fixed penalty notices deliver swift and visible justice to those engaged in low-level anti-social behaviour, saving police time and reducing the burden on the courts.

"Consideration is being given to extending the scheme to British Transport and MoD Police."

Bill Aitken, Tory deputy justice spokesman, said: "I feel these fines downgrade some offences.

"It will be interesting to see the payment levels because, when non-payment of court fines is so high, why should people pay these bad-behaviour tickets?"

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