An order that requires an offender (who must consent and be aged at least 16) to perform unpaid work for between 40 and 240 hours under the supervision of a probation officer. Formerly known as a community service order, it was renamed under the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000. Such an order replaces any other form of punishment (e.g. imprisonment); it is usually based on a probation officer's report and is carried out within 12 months (unless extended). Breach of the order may be dealt with by fine or by revocation of the order and the imposition of any punishment that could originally have been imposed for the offence.
Community punishment orders are being replaced by community orders with an unpaid work requirement under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and will no longer be available when that Act is fully implemented (probably in 2009).