On-the-spot drinking fines ended in parts of London

Image caption,
Drunk revellers may be offered 'words of advice'

On-the-spot fines for offences including being drunk and disorderly have been stopped in parts of London.

Under a pilot scheme running in Westminster, Lambeth and Southwark, officers will use court action or "words of advice" instead of fines.

The change will also affect offences of retail theft, disorder and threatening and abusive behaviour.

Less than half of on-the-spot fines for shoplifting were paid last year, the Ministry of Justice said in July.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "We are concerned in London that too many fixed penalty notices are issued, and a significant number of these don't get paid.

"This is wasting police time and not acting as a punishment or deterrent."

'More effective'

He added: "This doesn't mean we aren't dealing with these offences.

"We are seeing if there is a more effective way to deal with them, such as through cautions, through the courts or, in minor cases, words of advice."

The pilot scheme is due to be expanded to Lewisham and Greenwich.

Last month junior justice minister Crispin Blunt revealed that less than half of the fines issued for shoplifting last year were paid in full.

Some 45,616 fixed penalty notices were issued in England and Wales but just 20,903 were settled.

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