Unpaid fines more than £100 million
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.