A review of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) has begun by the Ministry of Justice in the hope of addressing flaws within the system.

The report, due to be released in March, 2010, will consider whether or not police forces and the Crown Prosecution Service are using the penalties appropriately.

The review was proposed after concerns had been raised by the Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer over inappropriate use. There have also been questions asked over whether the penalties are effective in reducing re-offending, and if they should be given to
persistent offenders.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw echoed the concerns shown over the use of FPNs.

He said: “Out-of-court disposals were introduced principally to address where no effective action was being taken, rather than as an alternative to court,” he said. “However, I have been increasingly concerned about some of the reports of what seem to me to be inappropriate use of out-of-court disposals.

"These disposals are intended for dealing with antisocial behaviour and low-level offending that would previously have gone unpunished and not for serious, persistent or violent
offenders who should always be brought before a court.”

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