Press Release, 30th November 2012
Concern criminal fines will go unpaid
Local MSP Duncan McNeil has raised concerns that financial penalties meted out to offenders will go unpaid due to a lack of resource.
Under freedom of information laws the Scottish Court Service has confirmed that there are only five dedicated Fine Enforcement Officers (FEO’s) for the entire north Strathclyde region.
FEO’s are employed by the Scottish Court Service to recover fines dished out by the courts, police and the procurator fiscal.
Roughly 25, 000 fines were imposed in the region for 2011/2012 alone.
There are also thousands of fines that have not been fully paid .
Over 21,000 fines imposed in the last four years in North Strathclyde have still to be paid up with a value of around £2,200,000.
Fines can often be issued for serious crimes such as assault, drug possession, theft, breach of the peace and vandalism.
In Greenock over 3,500 fines were imposed in 2011/12 while over 2,000 fines imposed in the last four years have still to be paid up, with a value of £158,000.
Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil said:
“With so few fines enforcement officers it’s difficult to see how these fines will be recovered anytime soon. Many victims will feel that offenders shouldn’t be getting fines in the first place and that instead tougher sentences should be imposed. To then find that fines are not being paid will only add insult to injury and will undermine people’s faith in the justice system”