The news that half of all fines are still unpaid six months after being imposed is yet another symptom of our chronically lackadaisical justice system:
"In some parts of the country the proportion of fines collected is as low as one in three. Last year alone, magistrates' courts imposed fines totalling £352 million but only £222 million was collected. Of the remainder, around £75 million of fines were cancelled because they had been set at the wrong level, while the remaining £55 million were unpaid."
The NAO reports that the Department for Constitutional Affairs has been tightening up its procedures. But that's what departments always say.
DCA has certainly been moving its goalposts for measuring collection rates, by excluding cancelled fines from the denominator. But while letting off a quarter of all miscreants may improve the calculated collection rate, that's just not what we want from our justice system. We want, like...Justice.
The Major has some refreshingly direct ideas.
Or we could just jump to The Judges.
PS A few days ago we blogged that five senior officials in the Immigration Directorate had been exposed as illegal immigrants. A commenter pointed out that they were actually only cleaners. But now it turns out that the senior immigration officer who- Nigerian gangster style- demanded sex for visas, was himself originally an illegal. We await news of the other four.