WA Police will start issuing $500 on-the-spot fines to people who commit low level offences in a bid to return more police officers to the front line and cut court waiting times.
Police Minister Liza Harvey said Criminal Code Infringement Notices (CCINs) could be issued for offences such as stealing (where the value of goods is less than $500) and disorderly behaviour in public, which includes using offensive, insulting or threatening language, or urinating.
Mrs Harvey said CCINs would be issued in the Perth CBD from March 30, 2015, followed by a State-wide rollout in June.
"The new system provides more efficient and effective law enforcement, allowing police greater flexibility in their response to criminal behaviour," she said.
"Currently, police spend a considerable amount of time processing offenders at police stations and preparing for court appearances for petty theft and other minor offences.
"That time will now be better spent on the frontline, dealing with more serious criminal matters and responding to community requests for police assistance."
Mrs Harvey said WA Police would also introduce a new procedure when dealing with stealing offences.
Rather than seizing the stolen goods as evidence, property will be swiftly returned to the owner.
Attorney General Michael Mischin said the courts would welcome the new system and improved practices.
"What previously took hours and days for police and the courts to achieve by summons or arrest can now be resolved immediately, thereby reducing both court time and trial backlogs," Mr Mischin said.
"By paying a CCIN and thus dealing with the matter outside of the court process, people will avoid the recording of a criminal conviction for that offence."
It is not mandatory for police to issue a CCIN, with officers exercising discretion to caution, summons, arrest or issue a CCIN on a case-by-case basis
To be eligible for a CCIN, a person must be at least 17 years of age, have their identity confirmed and have a current postal address
Anyone issued with a CCIN can pay the fine or elect to appear in court
A person has 28 days to pay the penalty of $500 before a final demand is issued
Police Minister's office - 6552 5900
Attorney General's office - 6552 5600