Warrants and Citations
In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of fixed financial penalties meted out to offenders.
Last year alone, 175,000 fines were imposed in Scotland for serious crimes such as assault, drug possession, theft, breach of the peace and vandalism.
The reason for this surge is down to a SNP government policy introduced back in 2008, that allowed more and more offenders to receive a fine for a crime they had committed rather than being hauled before court to face prosecution.
The SNP government, rejecting accusations that this was a soft touch policy, claimed it would free up police and court time so there would be greater focus on serious criminals. It was also said that it would deliver swift justice for victims.
Well, an investigation by me and my team has found that this policy simply isn’t working and has failed to achieve its key objectives. Indeed, its wasting police time, its wasting court time and most importantly of all it is letting down the victims of crime.
In 2011/12 a staggering thirty eight thousand warrants were issued to those ignoring their fines. In the same year offenders were asked to appear before court on 80,000 occasions for failing to pay up.
But our investigation has also uncovered other problems with our justice system.
Astoundingly, sheriffs and fiscals are giving additional fines to offenders who are using legal loopholes to avoid paying earlier financial penalties.
It is clear from our investigation that the SNP’s soft touch policy is making a mockery of the justice system and adding insult to injury to the victims of crime.