Press Release, 10th January 2013

MSP demands review of failed justice policy

Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil has demanded a review of a policy which has allowed more offenders to be fined as an alternative to prosecution.

The demand came as he questioned the Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill in Parliament.

Figures obtained under freedom of information laws by the local MSP show thatmore than 90,000 fines issued by the Justice System over the last three years have been chased with an arrest warrant because offenders have failed to pay up.

The statistics also showed that offenders received over 200,000 notices ordering them to court for non-payment.

Speaking in parliament Duncan McNeil said:

“I have obtained figures from the Scottish Court Service that show that, in the past three financial years, 90,000 fines that were issued by the justice system had to be chased up with an arrest warrant because offenders failed to pay up. In addition, more than 200,000 citations have been issued ordering offenders to appear before the courts for non-payment. In light of those figures, can we now acknowledge that a policy that allows more offenders to be fined as an alternative to prosecution has failed to achieve its objectives, is wasting police and court time and, more worryingly, is letting down victims of crime? Will the cabinet secretary instigate a review of that failed policy to ensure that those who break the law face the full consequences of their actions?”