People who commit minor criminal offences could be issued with an on-the-spot fine under new legislation introduced into State Parliament today.
Police Minister Rob Johnson said the Criminal Code Amendment (Infringement Notices) Bill 2010 proposed a new scheme into Western Australia whereby infringement notices could be issued for some Criminal Code offences.
Mr Johnson said under the new system, police could issue Criminal Penalty Infringement Notices (CPINs) for offences such as stealing (only in cases where the value of goods is less than $500) and disorderly behaviour in public, which includes using offensive, insulting or threatening language or urinating.
“These CPINs will allow police to remain on frontline duties rather than having to go through a lengthy administrative process to bring an offender before the courts for relatively minor offences,” he said.
“It also saves the court system the cost of having to deal with relatively low-level crime, allowing the courts to reduce trial backlogs and focus on more serious criminal matters.
“This is all about smarter and more effective law enforcement, ensuring that our police officers are on the beat fighting crime and our court system is working more efficiently.”
It would not be mandatory for police to issue a CPIN under the proposed scheme. Police would exercise their discretion to caution, summons, arrest or issue a CPIN on a case-by-case basis.
To be eligible for a CPIN, a person must be at least 17 years of age and have their identity confirmed.
If a person was issued with a CPIN for any offence, they have the option of paying the fine or having the matter heard in court.
If the police issue an infringement notice but subsequently find that, in the light of further information, the matter should be heard in court, they can withdraw the notice and proceed by charge and summons.
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