Crime and Regulatory roundup – April 2023

In the latest edition of Kennedys’ Crime and Regulatory Brief (CARB), we look at a number of interesting topics including the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) continued focus on safety in the manufacturing and agriculture industries, and recent trends in Environment Agency (EA) prosecutions. We also follow up on an earlier article on the Online Safety Bill which continues to make its way through Parliament and will introduce a new regulatory regime to address illegal and harmful content.

The next edition of the CARB will follow our Crime and Regulatory law seminar which will take place on 25 May 2023 at Kennedys new flagship office at Fenchurch Street, London. Following the seminar, we intend to publish a bumper version of the CARB to cover the key topics discussed during the seminar and to address any issues/concerns raised by our clients.

The main talking points for the seminar will include:

  • A round up of key HSE and EA enforcement trends, comparing our experience with the official statistics and initiatives, including around homeworking and stress.
  • Motor crime developments and an overview of the Traffic Commissioner’s role and powers.
  • The potential implications of failing to appeal enforcement notices and recent trends in bad character evidence.
  • A sentencing round up to include an analysis of recent sentencing decisions in the Court of Appeal and their impact on the sentencing of large, very large or complexly structured organisations.

Please do get in touch if you have not already received an invite, but would like to attend.

In other recent news, and in case you may have missed it:

  • Following a 12-week consultation, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has published a summary of responses on the ban of single use plastics including plastic plates, trays, bowls, cutlery, balloon sticks, and certain types of polystyrene cups and food containers. This ban will be introduced from October 2023.
  • The professional association for Trading Standards bodies has found a third of products sold in the UK do not comply with relevant regulations. It is suggested that large numbers of products have incorrect or absent health warnings, over-capacity tank sizes, a higher than permitted concentration of nicotine, or are incorrectly labelled. The data was drawn from multiple local Trading Standards bodies across eight regions of the UK.
  • The Sentencing Council has published two new guidelines for sentencing retailers convicted of selling knives to children under 18 years old. The new guidelines came into effect on 1 April 2023. The guidelines – one for sentencing organisations and one for individuals – apply to offenders who fail to ensure that adequate safeguards are in place to prevent the sale of knives to under 18s either in store or online. As per our earlier article on this subject, which can be found here, this transforms the landscape for fines which are mainly imposed as a consequence of test purchases, and is likely to result in significant fines especially for larger retailers.
  • In the past six months, we have seen the launch of over 15 consultations and countless new guidelines on building safety in England and Wales. Such a high level of regulatory activity on one topic in a relatively short period of time is rather unusual. However, the sense of urgency observed is likely due to the introduction of the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) that started operating as part of the HSE in April. As such, the UK Government has very little time to establish all required building safety processes to be overseen by the new BSR. Most of the consultations concern competency requirements, conduct and other standards for construction professionals and contractors. The infinite number of consultations and guidelines that use different terminology for the different professions (especially inspectors and approvers) is creating inconsistencies and uncertainty.

Related item: Retailers could face significant fines if caught selling knives to children

Read other items in Crime and Regulatory Brief – April 2023

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