8. Principles of enforcement - consistency
7.2.1 Consistency means taking a similar approach in similar circumstances to achieve similar ends. All those involved need to know that they are being treated fairly and businesses, in particular, need to know that they are competing with one another on level terms. The Service will endeavour to ensure that all its enforcement decisions are consistent, balanced, fair and relate to common standards. In coming to any decision account will be taken of the seriousness of the offence, past history, confidence in management, the consequences of non-compliance, any evidence of genuine remorse and the likely effectiveness of the various enforcement options.
7.2.2 It is, however, recognised that consistency does not mean simple uniformity. Officers need to take account of many variables, the scale of impact on health or the environment, the attitude and actions of those responsible and the history of previous incidents or breaches. Decisions on enforcement action are a matter of professional judgment and the Service, through its officers, needs to exercise discretion. The Service will continue to develop arrangements to promote consistency including effective arrangements for liaison with other enforcing authorities.