Trading Standards service compliance and enforcement policy

Our enforcement principles


We will endeavour to prioritise and direct our regulatory resources effectively. To achieve this we will develop and use comprehensive, intelligence led risk assessments to focus our resources to issues of most need. We aim to ensure that the majority of our formal enforcement activities are focussed on those who are criminally intent, flout the law or act irresponsibly.


We will endeavour to ensure that when we take enforcement action it is proportionate to the circumstances surrounding the breach of legislation and that the sanctions we apply are meaningful. Where we serve a notice we will inform the recipient of any process of appeal.


We will be accountable for the efficiency and effectiveness of our activities whilst remaining independent in the decisions we take.

Fairness and consistency

We endeavour to treat all consumers and businesses fairly. No decision, response, or action by the service will be affected by the race, politics, gender, sexual orientation, mental or physical capability or religious beliefs of any suspected offender, complainant, witness or officer of this service.

We will endeavour to ensure that our enforcement practices are consistent.  We will adopt a similar approach in similar circumstances to achieve similar ends.

When undertaking enforcement activity we will give due regard to the provisions of:

  • the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984
  • The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
  • The Human Rights Act 1998
  • the Code of Practice on Powers of Entry issued under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.  

In particular we will respect a person’s right to a fair trial, right to respect for private and family life and the protection of property.

We support the Primary Authority Partnerships Scheme developed to promote good enforcement practice and reduce unnecessary burdens on businesses.

Openness and transparency

We are committed to the open provision of information and advice in a format that is accessible, easily understood and implemented. We will ensure that there is a clear distinction between those actions necessary to comply with the law and those which we recommend as best practice but are not compulsory.

Our prosecution policy explains how we make our decisions in respect of any potential legal proceedings.