There are several ways in which we deal with offences:
- roadside advice
- driver education courses
- fixed penalty scheme
- summons to court.
In both Norfolk and Suffolk, police at the roadside will issue a Traffic Offence Report (TOR) to the person committing the offence. The TOR is then submitted to Central Ticket Office (CTO) who makes the decision as to one of the last three above points. The offer/summons is then sent out in the post.
Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN)
There are two types of FPNs that can be issued:
- Endorsable (a fixed penalty and penalty points on your driving licence):
- no insurance
- using a mobile phone whilst driving
- travelling through red traffic lights
- lane hogging and undertaking
- tyre offences.
- Non-endorsable (a fixed penalty):
- failing to wear a seatbelt
- no MOT
- tinted windows
- highway obstructions
- number plates that do not meet regulations.
These are not the only offences a fixed penalty notice can be issued for, but the most common.
On receipt of a fixed penalty you have two options available to you:
- Pay the penalty in full within 28 days. Payments can be made by cheque, postal order or credit/debit card (Switch, Visa, Mastercard, Solo, Visa Debit).
- Complete the paperwork requesting a court hearing and return it to the CTO at the details that have been provided with the notice.
When you receive an endorsable fixed penalty, your driving licence must be sent to the Conditional Offer Unit in Southend to check it meets the fixed penalty criteria. You are now only required to send in the Photocard part of your licence. Any endorsements are recorded digitally due to the removal of the paper counterpart of the driving licence.
Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP)
A Notice of Intended Prosecution is issued to the registered keeper of the vehicle suspected of committing certain offences. It has to be sent within 14 days of detection of the alleged offence and has to specify:
- the nature of the alleged offence
- date and time the alleged offence happened
- the place the alleged offence happened.
The offences for which a NIP must be issued are the following:
- dangerous driving
- careless and inconsiderate driving
- leaving a vehicle in a dangerous position
- dangerous cycling
- careless and inconsiderate cycling
- failing to comply with traffic directions of a police officer engaged in the regulation of traffic or at a traffic survey
- failing to comply with a S.36 Road Traffic Act 1988 sign (e.g. double white line markings)
- aid and abet any of the above offences.
A NIP does not have to be served if it was verbally given at the time or if the alleged offender was involved in an accident.
You may also receive a requirement to supply the name and address of the driver under section 172 Road Traffic Act 1988.
It is an offence not to comply with the notice, even if you don’t believe that your vehicle was involved, or if you were not the driver at the time. You will need to provide details of the driver at the time or written proof confirming the whereabouts of the vehicle on the date in question if you believe it was not involved.
Please Note: Failure to respond to a NIP may render you liable for prosecution under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
Seizure of vehicles
S.59 Police reform Act 2002
Certain anti-social driving offences can now be dealt with by Section 59 of the Police Reform Act. This will apply if you are:
- driving in a careless or inconsiderate manner
- driving on common land, a footpath or bridle way or any land which is not part of a road
- driving in a manner which is causing, or is likely to cause alarm, distress or annoyance to members of the public.
Then a Section 59 warning can be issued to you. This warning is placed against both the driver and the vehicle and lasts for 12 months.
If the driver of the vehicle or the vehicle with the warning issued to it is then seen driving in any of those conditions again in the next 12 months the vehicle can be seized and, if not collected after paying for recovery and storage costs, it could be sold on or crushed.
This is not an alternative to the penalties that can be received for the actual offence committed i.e. penalty points, fines and disqualifications.
S.165A Road Traffic Act 1988
Anyone driving a motor vehicle on a road can have their vehicle seized under Section 165A if driving with:
- no insurance
- no driving licence (otherwise than in accordance with a licence).
The vehicle is taken immediately by a recovery company working within the scheme. To retrieve the vehicle, a valid driving licence and insurance has to be produced and the recovery and storage costs paid. After 14 days the vehicle can be sold on or crushed.
The original offence is still dealt with, which can attract penalty points, fine or disqualification.