Fine dodgers targeted

FINE defaulters in Suffolk are today being targeted in a major operation aimed at recouping money owed to the courts and victims of crime.Suffolk Magistrates' Courts Service is joining forces with a number of agencies in a bid to force some of the 10,000 people in Suffolk who together owe more than £2,680,000 in outstanding court fines to pay up.

FINE defaulters in Suffolk are today being targeted in a major operation aimed at recouping money owed to the courts and victims of crime.

Suffolk Magistrates' Courts Service is joining forces with a number of agencies in a bid to force some of the 10,000 people in Suffolk who together owe more than £2,680,000 in outstanding court fines to pay up.

In a joint operation with Suffolk Police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Prisoner Escort Service, bailiffs and the courts service, the Suffolk Criminal Justice Board has launched Operation Payback 2, which warns fine defaulters to "pay up or pay the price".

Operation Payback 2 is targeting the most persistent fine defaulters; the 987 people in Suffolk for whom an arrest warrant has been issued by the court.


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Often these people will have already received notification of the fine, a reminder letter from the court, a phone call, another letter and up to three visits from a bailiff.

Steve Finch, director of finance for Magistrates Courts in Suffolk, said: "The courts are determined that fines and compensation payments to victims of crime will be collected.

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"In Suffolk, we have significantly improved our success rate in collecting fines. The national target is to achieve a payment rate of 78 per cent. In Suffolk, we have achieved a 100 per cent payment rate in the last six months, which makes Suffolk the best performing area in the country."

Suffolk Criminal Justice Board chair and Suffolk chief Crown prosecutor Chris Yule said: "A fine is not a punishment until it has been paid. Whilst fines are not being paid, justice is not being achieved and victims are not receiving their compensation.

"By enforcing the fines imposed on offenders this operation should reassure local communities. Operation Payback 2 means that compensation owed to victims, and money owed to the court, and therefore the taxpayer, is collected."

A team of court enforcement officers and police officers will be knocking on the doors of those people who have failed to pay their fines and giving them a choice to pay up or be taken to court immediately where the matter will be dealt with and they could face going to prison.

Weblink: www.lcjb.cjsonline.org/Suffolk

What action do you think should be taken against fine defaulters? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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