Fixed penalty notices - Legislation and data sources

The request was successful.

Dear Newcastle upon Tyne City Council,

I understand Newcastle City Council employs civil enforcement officers (CEOs) who may issue fines or 'fixed penalty notices' (FPNs) for certain offences such as littering.

Please could you provide a list of offences for which the council has issued an FPN to an individual (rather than a business) since Jan 1st 2018? (e.g Littering, Flyer distribution,...) In adition, please could you state the relevant legislation assosciated with each offence, which allows the council to issue FPNs. (For example; 'Littering; section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990',...).

Do FPNs need to be issued in person at the time of the offence? For example if somebody was witnessed dropping litter but the person left before being approached by a CEO, if the individuals identity could be established, would the council issue and FPN through the post, or in person at a later date?

What are the councils procedures if somebody offered an FPN refuses to provide their identity? I note that there have been cases of people prosecuted for refusing to identify themselves, when asked by CEOs. In those circumstances, what means do the council employ to establish and verify their identity? (e.g Public databases, social media, LexisNexis, with police assistance, using CCTV, DVLA database etc.)

How do CEOs ensure that details given by someone being offered an FPN are genuine, and not fabricated or those of a different person?

How many times does the council believe an individual has provided false information about their identify, or refused to provide any at all to a CEO? Of those, how many times were the council able to determine the actual identiy of the individual in question?

Yours faithfully,

Richard

Freedom Of Information Requests Mailbox, Newcastle upon Tyne City Council

Dear Richard

Thank you for your request.

Please see the extract from the Freedom of Information Act below showing the requirement to supply us with a full name.

“Recognising a Request made under the Freedom of Information Act (Section 8) 25. Any variation of the requester’s title or first name combined with their surname (e.g. Mr Smith or John Smith) will be sufficient to meet this requirement. However, a first name or surname provided in isolation, or a set of initials, will not”.

Thank you
Freedom of Information team

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Dear Freedom Of Information Requests Mailbox,

As requested, my second name is Bingham.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Bingham

Freedom Of Information Requests Mailbox, Newcastle upon Tyne City Council

Acknowledgement: FOI 16174

Thank you for your request for information. We are dealing with it under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

We have passed your request to relevant colleagues who will respond within 20 working days starting the working day after receipt of your request.

Regards
Freedom of Information Team

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Harris, Roy, Newcastle upon Tyne City Council

Dear Richard

 

Thank you for your request made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
on 10 February 2020. Your request has been given the reference 16174 and I
can respond as follows.

 

Please note that Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) are appointed under the
Traffic Management Act 2004, which creates that job title (at section 76),
for the purpose of enforcing decriminalised parking matters, and applying
civil sanctions to non-decriminalised bus lane offences and certain
moving-traffic offences. Newcastle City Council does employ CEOs. The
following responses however do not relate to CEOs, but to officers
authorised to issue fixed penalty notices for criminal offences, such as
local environmental quality offences. This is because your questions does
not relate to functions under the Traffic Management Act 2004. Some CEOs,
along with environmental health staff and neighbourhood wardens, are
authorised to issue fixed penalty notices for littering.

 

Please could you provide a list of offences for which the council has
issued an FPN to an individual (rather than a business) since Jan 1st
2018? (e.g Littering, Flyer distribution,...) In adition, please could you
state the relevant legislation assosciated with each offence, which allows
the council to issue FPNs. (For example; 'Littering; section 87 of the
Environmental Protection Act 1990',...).

 

Environmental Protection Act 1990, section 87(1)

Depositing litter

CJS offence code EP90046

Amount: £75

Suspended enforcement period: 14 days

Power to issue notice is in section 88 of the Environmental Protection Act
1990

           

Environmental Protection Act 1990, section 94B, Schedule 3A, paragraph
1(1)

Distributing free literature without consent

CJS offence code EP90115

Amount: £80

Suspended enforcement period: 14 days

Power to issue notice is in paragraph 7 of Schedule 3A of the
Environmental Protection Act 1990

 

Environmental Protection Act 1990, section 33(1)(a)

Depositing of controlled waste on land otherwise than under an in
accordance with an environmental permit

CJS offence code EP90015

Amount: £200

Suspended enforcement period: 14 days

Power to issue notice is in section is in section 33ZA of the
Environmental Protection Act 1990

 

Environmental Protection Act 1990, section 33(1)(a)

Causing deposit of controlled waste on land otherwise than under an in
accordance with an environmental permit

CJS offence code EP90081

Amount: £200

Suspended enforcement period: 14 days

Power to issue notice is in section is in section 33ZA of the
Environmental Protection Act 1990

 

Environmental Protection Act 1990, section 33(1)(a)

Permitting deposit of controlled waste on land otherwise than under an in
accordance with an environmental permit

CJS offence code EP90082

Amount: £200

Suspended enforcement period: 14 days

Power to issue notice is in section is in section 33ZA of the
Environmental Protection Act 1990

 

Highways Act 1980, section 132(1)

Painting or affixing unauthorised mark/sign on highway structure

CJS offence code HY80090

Amount: £80

Suspended enforcement period: 14 days

Power to issue notice is in section is in section 43 of the Anti-social
Behaviour Act 2003

           

Town & Country Planning Act 1990, section 224(3), and Town and Country
Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007,
Regulations 4 and 30

Displaying advertisement in contravention of regulations

CJS offence code TC90020

Amount: £80

Suspended enforcement period: 14 days

Power to issue notice is in section is in section 43 of the Anti-social
Behaviour Act 2003

           

Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989, section 5

Person engaged in transport of controlled waste failing to produce
authority to transport waste

CJS offence code CP89007

Amount: £300

Suspended enforcement period: 14 days

Power to issue notice is in section 5B of the Control of Pollution
(Amendment) Act 1989

 

Environmental Protection Act 1990, section 34(6), and Waste (England and
Wales) Regulations 2011, regulation 35

Failing to produce written information re transfers of controlled waste

CJS offence code EP90024

Amount: £300

Suspended enforcement period: 14 days

Power to issue notice is in section is in section 34A of the Environmental
Protection Act 1990

 

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, sections 67

Failing to comply with a public spaces protection order

Failing to remove dog faeces forthwith from designated land

CJS offence code AS14006

Power to issue notice is in section is in section 68 of the Anti-social
Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

 

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, section 67

Failing to comply with a public spaces protection order

CJS offence code AS14006

Amount: £100

Suspended enforcement period: 14 days

Power to issue notice is in section is in section 68 of the Anti-social
Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

 

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, section 48

Failing to comply with a community protection notice

CJS offence code AS14004

Amount: £100

Suspended enforcement period: 14 days

Power to issue notice is in section is in section 52 of the Anti-social
Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

 

Health Act 2006, section 7

Smoking in a smoke-free place

CJS offence code HA06002

Amount: £50

Suspended enforcement period: 30 days

Discount amount: £30, in 15 days

 

 

Do FPNs need to be issued in person at the time of the offence? For
example if somebody was witnessed dropping litter but the person left
before being approached by a CEO, if the individuals identity could be
established, would the council issue and FPN through the post, or in
person at a later date?

 

Most FPNs are issued in person, where the offence is witnessed by an
officer. For offences such as those under section 33 and 34 of the
Environmental Protection Act 1990 the decision to issue a FPN may follow
an investigation, or in the case of section 34 a non-compliance with a
legal notice. In such cases an officer would not have direct contact with
the offender at the time of the alleged offence and communication would be
by mail. There is no legal requirement that fixed penalty notices are
issued on-the-spot. However their purpose for things like littering is to
be issued at the time (and reduce officer time and paperwork).

 

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ Code of Practice
for Litter and Refuse, Part 1A – Effective Enforcement (which covers use
of fixed penalty notices by local authorities for environmental offences)
states, at paragraph 11I.2: “A fixed penalty notice in lieu of prosecution
must be issued to the person who is alleged to have committed the offence.
Where possible, a fixed penalty notice should be issued on the spot and
alleged offenders should be made aware of an offence at the time. If
necessary, a fixed penalty notice can also be issued by post.”

 

If a person refuses to state there name and address to an officer, a
non-fixed penalty offence may be committed and the person would be
prosecuted for both offences. The court would issue a summons at a later
date after the person was reported to them and this would be posted.

 

We do not issue fixed penalty notices to the non-cooperative; they are
referred to court.

 

 

What are the councils procedures if somebody offered an FPN refuses to
provide their identity? I note that there have been cases of people
prosecuted for refusing to identify themselves, when asked by CEOs. In
those circumstances, what means do the council employ to establish and
verify their identity? (e.g Public databases, social media, LexisNexis,
with police assistance, using CCTV, DVLA database etc.)

 

In accordance with local police and HM Government guidance, such persons
would be prosecuted. Where the legislation contains an offence of failing
to give the officer a name and address, or of giving a false name and/or
address, the accused would be summonsed for that offence in addition to
the original offence. An example of this is section 88(8B) of the
Environmental Protection Act 1990, which states: “A person commits an
offence if—

 a. he fails to give his name and address when required to do so under
subsection (8A) above, or
 b. he gives a false or inaccurate name or address in response to a
requirement under that subsection.”

 

Identification would potentially involve all Police and Criminal Evidence
Act 1984 Code D compliant identification methods, recognition by viewing
of films, photographs and images, seeing the same person again, DVLA
access, police assistance and using provisions in Schedule 2 of the Data
Protection Act 2018.

 

 

How do CEOs ensure that details given by someone being offered an FPN are
genuine, and not fabricated or those of a different person?

 

We have a duty to the courts to ensure we have properly identified a
defendant to their satisfaction and beyond any doubt. Asking to see
physical documentary evidence of identity, i.e. a Government-issued
document, is preferred and our officers are instructed to do this.
Suitable documents are a driving licence or a passport as these are secure
documents that contain an image of a person and are subject to identity
verification before being issued. Police assistance must be sought where
we are unable to satisfactorily identify a person by name and a date of
birth and have an address for the court summons. This is addressed by
section 24(5)(a) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. Officers
also have access to phones to contact colleagues who have methods of
checking details.

 

The following is a quote from Ministry of Justice guidance, albeit in
relation to police penalty notices: “Failure to identify a person and
their address could prevent the enforcement of the penalty notice -
identity checks must therefore be rigorous. Where possible, documentary
evidence as to age, identity and place of residence should be sought in
preference to non-physical sources e.g. electoral register or PNC checks.”

 

 

How many times does the council believe an individual has provided false
information about their identify, or refused to provide any at all to a
CEO? Of those, how many times were the council able to determine the
actual identiy of the individual in question?

 

This is difficult to estimate. However, as a guide, we issued 4,693 fixed
penalty notices for littering in 2018/19. Of these 28 were found to have
successfully given false details or were untraceable within six months of
the offence (the limitation imposed by section 127(1) of the Magistrates'
Courts Act 1980). During 2018/19 we prosecuted 27 people who received a
fixed penalty notices for littering, but did not pay and were found to
have given false name and/or address (within six months). We also
prosecuted in that same year 9 people who refused to give their name and
address to an officer.

 

I hope this information assists.

 

If you are unhappy with our response to your request you can ask for an
internal review of our decision.  Please send details of your request for
review to the following address:

Information Governance Advisor, Civic Centre, Barras Bridge, Newcastle
upon Tyne NE1 8QH. Email: [1][Newcastle upon Tyne City Council request email]

 

If you are still unhappy with how we have handled your request following
our internal review you can complain to the Information Commissioner. 
Contact details are as follows:

Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow
SK9 5AF

Telephone 0303 123 1113. Email: [2][email address]

 

Please note that the Information Commissioner will not usually consider a
complaint until the City Council’s internal review process has been
exhausted.

 

Regards

 

Roy

 

Roy Harris
Environmental Protection Manager
Public Safety & Regulation
Operations & Regulatory Services
 
Newcastle •  [3]http://www.newcastle.gov.uk
City Website
Council
Civic •  0191 211 6131   
Centre Phone
7^th   Ext   26131
Floor
Barras •  Fax 0191 277 7166
Bridge
NEWCASTLE •  [4][email address]
UPON TYNE e-mail
NE1 8QH    
 
Please consider the environment before printing
this e-mail

 

 

 

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Dear Roy Harris,

Thank you for the prompt and helpful reply.

Based on your response, please could I make a further query.

You stated that 28 people gave false information about hteir identity and were not traced, and that 27 people gave false information about their identity and were traced.

Which databases or sources of information were used either in whole or in part in attempting to locate these individuals?

Many thanks,

Richard Bingham

Harris, Roy, Newcastle upon Tyne City Council

Hello Richard

Thank you for your email.

At the scene we will request police to assist. Where the misrepresentation is uncovered later, we use electoral register, benefits and council tax databases (here and at other local authorities) (sometimes it is the checks of such records that uncover the false details and we find the person has given an old address). The power to use these records and to request disclosure from others is provided for in Schedule 2 to the Data Protection Act 2018. Where a name is known we also use the Police National Computer, local police intelligence systems, credit reference agencies, 192.com (which replicates electoral roll and telephone directories and in public information). Where there is doubt about more than the address, we sometimes find we have records of previous contact, can use open source social media (occasionally, through links with associates), and sometimes the employer is known, so their payroll records and held images assist us. Occasionally the same person is seen again as in one recent case, and the second time he was at his place of work.

Regards

Roy

Roy Harris
Environmental Protection Manager
Public Safety & Regulation
0191 211 6131 / extension 26131

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Dear Roy Harris,

Your prompt and detailed reply is appreciated.

With thanks,

Richard B.