The government has delayed plans to introduce an £80 fine for drive offs on forecourts. The on-the-spot fine was one of a new raft of extra powers
proposed to be added to the controversial fixed penalty fine scheme. Others includes making threats to destroy property and drunken and yobbish behaviour on trains. The Ministry of Justice said that all items proposed had been delayed – with the exception of the offence of being caught in possession of cannabis.
The Penalty Notice Disorder, or PND, was introduced in 2001 to deal with lower levels of criminality. One reason the proposal to include drive offs in the PNDs was so controversial was that those given the fines do not get a criminal record or have to appear in court.
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said today: "The Government has listened to concerns about certain aspects of extending the penalty notice for disorder scheme and has decided to consult more widely on the new offences to be included. Therefore the order before Parliament has been withdrawn.
"The consultation will allow all interested organisations to have their say over whether or not other offences should be added to the PND scheme.
"After the consultation period, the government will lay a new order proposing a further list of offences. Taxi touting has been removed from the list of potential offences and will not be part of the consultation process.
"Penalty notices for disorder for possession of cannabis will go ahead as soon as possible subject to the agreement of Parliament.
"Cannabis is being reclassified from Class C to B on 26 January. The Home Secretary has made clear that PNDs are necessary for possession of cannabis to allow police to operate an escalated enforcement regime. The police are currently able to deal with the offence of cannabis possession by warning, caution or charge.”
Commenting on the announcement, Kevin Eastwood, executive director of BOSS (the British Oil Security Syndicate), said: "BOSS views this as a disappointing step back in tackling the problem of ’making off without payment’ from petrol stations and taking action against unacceptable levels of forecourt theft."