Clampdown on unpaid fines

By Richard Smith | 01/02/2011 0 comments

Clampdown on unpaid fines

FINE dodgers are going to be forced to pay up under a new clampdown launched today.

Courts Service enforcement officers and police will be blitzing offenders' homes across South Yorkshire to collect unpaid fines.

Bailiffs will be issued with warrants to confiscate property and, those who refuse to co-operate will be arrested. Court time will be set aside to deal specifically with fine dodgers.

The month-long campaign, dubbed Operation Crackdown, follows a similar operation this time last year during which 9425 warrants executed and £1.02m collected across England ane Wales.

Paul Bradley, HMCS Area Director for Humber & South Yorkshire said: "Our message to fine dodgers is clear: pay up now or face the consequences.

"The courts will do everything within their powers to trace those who do not pay. Money can be taken from an offender's earnings or from benefits if they are unemployed.

"Warrants can be issued instructing court employed agents to seize and sell goods belonging to the offender. Ultimately an offender can be imprisoned for non-payment of their fine."

"In the financial year 09-10, 84,011 warrants to seize and sell goods were issued by magistrates' courts in the North East.

"In the 12 months to September 2010 7025 Attachment of Earnings Orders and 46,393 Deduction from Benefits Orders were issued in Humber and South Yorkshire."

Steps taken to improve HMCS fine enforcement nationwide include:

  • Better trained and equipped CEOs, with more tracing tools at their disposal to track down fine dodgers and the completion of a national rollout of secure cell vehicles.
  • Working with magistrates to get more fines paid on the day they are imposed.
  • Full access to the DWP benefits information for HMCS staff to improve the timeliness and effectiveness of collection and enforcement.
  • Full rollout of new payment methods including payment cards and the ability to pay fines on line.
  • Increased telephone debt chasing.
  • Texting non-compliant offenders to warn them of the consequences of non-payment.
  • Fines can be paid via the National Fine Payment Line on 0300 790 9901 (England) or 0300 790 9980 (Wales) or online at www.direct.gov.uk/payacourtfine.
     

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