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Fixed penalty notices

The police have powers to issue on-the-spot fines called fixed penalty notices (FPNs) to people who are behaving in an antisocial way and causing annoyance to others. This page explains more.

What is a fixed penalty notice (FPN)?

A fixed penalty notice is an on-the-spot £50 fine for low-level antisocial offences. FPNs can only be issued by police officers to people aged 16 and over.

What can FPNs be issued for?

The police can issue FPNs for the following offences:

  • riotous behaviour while drunk in licensed premises, such as a pub or club
  • refusing to leave licensed premises when asked
  • urinating or defecating in a place that causes, or is likely to, cause annoyance to others
  • being drunk and incapable in a public place
  • being drunk in a public place in charge of a child
  • persisting in playing music or singing when you're annoying people and have been asked to stop
  • vandalism
  • drinking alcohol where it breaks a bye-law
  • breach of the peace
  • destroying or damaging someone's property on purpose (known as 'malicious mischief').

How long have I got to pay the fine?

If you are issued with an FPN, you'll have 28 days to pay the fine or ask for a court hearing. You may wish to do this if you think the notice was issued unfairly - speak to an adviser at  Citizens Advice or a solicitor if you think this applies to you. If you don't pay the fine within that time, it will go up to £75, and will be registered with the court. Once the FPN is paid, it is an end to the matter.

If I get an FPN, does that mean I'll have a criminal record?

An FPN is not the same as a criminal conviction. Instead, it provides you with the opportunity to free yourself from the liability of being convicted of an offence. However, the police will keep information about the FPN for two years.

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