The Minister with responsibility for Justice, the Hon Samantha Sacramento MP, has published a Bill to provide for Penalty Notices for Disorder. These notices will provide the Royal Gibraltar Police with a quick and effective means of dealing with low level nuisance behaviour.
The offences included are summary offences where the most likely court outcome would be a low level fine. The offences covered include breaches of the peace, disorderly conduct, making off without payment, noise and various alcohol related offences. Guidance will also be issued by the Ministry for Justice to the Royal Gibraltar Police regarding the use of their discretion to issue notices in particular circumstances.
The law will enable the police to issue penalty notices on the spot or elsewhere and therefore potentially remove the majority of these minor cases from the courts, significantly reducing the valuable police time which needs to be invested in preparation in cases for Court and provides an efficient means for the police to tackle minor offences which may not previously have warranted the resources required for a court process. There will be two separate tariffs of £50 and £100 depending on the offence.
The law is based on the long-standing Fixed Penalty Notice scheme for road traffic offences. Notices are issued to individuals and there is no requirement for an admission of guilt nor is a conviction recorded against the subject. There is also a mechanism in place for the person who receives a Notice to request to be tried rather than pay the penalty.
The Minister for Justice, the Hon Samantha Sacramento MP said “I am pleased to publish a Bill today that will provide the Royal Gibraltar Police with another tool that will allow them to continue their policing work of more effectively managing their resources. We are following the UK’s lead in allowing for a speedy and effective alternative option for dealing with a limited number of low-level nuisance offending in circumstances that may not warrant attendance at court, whilst still providing all the relevant safeguards to the victims of crime and offenders. This will free up Police and Court resources, that are being used on relatively minor offences which would most likely result in a low-level fine, and allow them to be focused on more serious matters.”