Un­paid fines more than £100 mil­lion

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

WRONG­DO­ERS in London have racked up more than £100 mil­lion in un­paid court fines.

Fig­ures re­leased this week re­veal £127.6m in fines given out in London courts re­main un­paid, with £47.4m of that money re­lat­ing to fines is­sued in 2013 to 2014.

The London cen­tral and south crim­i­nal jus­tice board area had the high­est amount of un­paid fines in Eng­land and Wales, with £51.1m. London north west had £32.7m, London north east £30.3m, and London south west £13.4m in un­paid fines.

Dyfed Powys in the Bre­con Bea­cons, south Wales had the least amount of un­paid fines, at £3.3m – fol­lowed by Durham (£3.4m) and North York­shire (£3.7m).

Un­paid court fines in the whole of Eng­land and Wales amounted to an as­ton­ish­ing £548.8m at the end of the last fi­nan­cial fines, with £226.7m of that re­lat­ing to fines levied in 2013 to 2014, and the rest dat­ing back even fur­ther.

That to­tal fig­ure in­cludes fines is­sued just be­fore the end of the 2013-14 fi­nan­cial year and are not yet due to be paid.

The fig­ures were re­leased by courts min­is­ter Shailesh Vara at the re­quest of shadow jus­tice min­is­ter and Ham­mer­smith MP, Andy Slaugh­ter.

Mr Vara said: “This gov­ern­ment takes re­cov­ery and en­force­ment of fi­nan­cial im­po­si­tions very se­ri­ously and re­mains com­mit­ted to find­ing new ways to en­sure im­po­si­tions are paid and to trace those who do not pay.

“That is why there has been a year-on-year in­crease in the to­tal amount of fi­nan­cial penal­ties col­lected over the last three years.

“The amount of money col­lected reached an all-time high of £290m at the end of 2013/14 and col­lec­tions con­tinue to rise. Fines are the most common type of sen­tence given be­cause they are given for lower level common crimes such as mi­nor driv­ing of­fences or theft. The amount is set by the court after con­sid­er­ing the se­ri­ous­ness of the of­fence and how much money the of­fender can pay and can be given to or­gan­i­sa­tions or com­pa­nies as well as peo­ple.

The max­i­mum fine al­lowed in a mag­is­trates’ court is £5,000.

In the Crown Court, the fine can be un­lim­ited. In 2011, 66 per cent of all of­fend­ers re­ceived a fine, a to­tal of 851,607.

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