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Young people in Mansfield choose litter duty over fines

In contrast to the perceived wisdom Mansfield District Council’s Community Wardens are issuing Fixed Penalty Notices to 12 – 17 year olds seen dropping litter.

Of the 157 young people caught between  April 2011 and January 2012 only one declined to take up the council’s offer of  a hour’s litter picking duty in lieu of the £75 fine.

The offenders meet at a prearranged location on a Saturdy morning. They are given instruction in safe litter picking and then go to work.

Other councils are reluctant to issue FPNs to under 18s because they have a duty to ensure that they are acting in accordance with the Children Act 2004; this requires children’s service authorities, including local authorities, ‘to discharge their functions having regard to the need to safeguard and uphold the welfare of children’.

If a fixed penalty is not paid and the matter goes to court Magistrates are often reluctant to give a young person a criminal record, particularly for the more minor of offences.

The Mansfield approach seems to neatly overcome these concerns and provides an approach which we hope other council’s will consider.

BBC On Line News article 

DEFRA Guidance on FPNs

 

 

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