4. Enforcement Options
4.1 We will regularly review our regulatory activities and interventions with a view to considering the extent to which it would be appropriate to remove or reduce the regulatory burdens they impose. Enforcement options available include education as verbal or written advice, sampling, written warnings, the service of enforcement notices, such as improvement or other statutory notices, prohibition notices (where there is an imminent or serious risk), seizure, suspension or revocation of licences, variation of licence conditions, fixed penalty notices, injunctions and the carrying out of works in default. A hierarchical approach, as set out in the Enforcement Action Decision Sheet, will be adopted in selecting the most appropriate enforcement sanctions. Except where circumstances indicate a significant risk officers should operate a graduated and educative approach starting with advice/ education and informal action and only moving to more formal action when the informal approach does not achieve the desired effect. Although decisions will clearly vary with circumstances, non-criminal sanctions will always be considered before criminal sanctions.
4.2 To maintain consistency, officers will adhere strictly to the guidance set out in the specific enforcement procedure documents for the relevant service area of enforcement (Food Safety, Health and Safety, Pollution etc.) when deciding upon the actions to be taken.
4.3 As a general rule, a prosecution will not be undertaken without the offender being given a reasonable opportunity to comply with the law. It is recognised, however, that there are circumstances where a contravention is particularly serious or there is a blatant or reckless disregard for the law and it is right to prosecute without a prior warning. Failure to comply with a Statutory Notice will normally result in a prosecution, except in cases where works in default may be more appropriate.
4.4 When deciding upon the best course of action, regard will be had to specific guidance on enforcement action issued by LACORS, the Food Standards Agency, Health & Safety Executive, Environment Agency or other Government body or contained in various Codes of Practice guidelines and Best Practice Documents issued by the relevant coordinating bodies and the Crown Prosecution Service.
4.5 Where a criminal offence has been committed, in addition to any other enforcement action, the Head of Environmental Health and Health Equalities will consider instituting a Prosecution or administering a Formal Caution.