Trading Standards prosecution and enforcement sanctions policy

Some common public interest factors tending in favour of prosecution

The following list contains some of the factors that we consider both for and against prosecutions and enforcement order proceedings. We will normally only consider such actions where one or more of these public interest criteria are satisfied:

  • there is significant risk to public health or safety or to the environment
  • the offender, by action or inaction, risks causing unnecessary suffering to animals or has increased the risk of the spread of animal disease
  • the offence involves the threat of violence, or duress, coercion, harassment or undue influence against any person
  • the offender deliberately obstructs an officer of the Authority carrying out his or her duties
  • the offence involves fraudulent or reckless practice or economic disadvantage to consumers or businesses or an act or omission harming the collective interests of consumers
  • the offender has previous conviction(s) or enforcement orders(s) or cautions or has given an undertaking or assurance not to conduct specified practices
  • the offender has repeatedly ignored advice
  • there are grounds for believing that noncompliance is likely to continue or be repeated for example by a history of recurring conduct
  • the probable benefit to the community at large of a prosecution or enforcement order proceedings or the importance of the case or the need for a suitable deterrent
  • the offence was premeditated
  • the offence was carried out by a group
  • the offence was committed in the presence of, or in close proximity to a child
  • the offence was motivated by discrimination against the victims ethnic or national origin, gender, disability, age religion or belief, political views sexual orientation or gender identity; or the offender demonstrated hostility towards the victim based on any of those characteristics
  • the victim or potential victim was in a vulnerable situation and the offender took or would have took advantage of this
  • there was a marked difference in ages of the offender and the victim and the offender took advantage of this
  • there was a marked difference in the level of understanding of the offender and the victim and the offender took advantage of this
  • the offender was in a position of authority or trust and took advantage of this
  • the offender was a ringleader or an organiser of the offence