Why Are Criminal Fines so Low?
The irony of asking criminals what they can afford
Have you ever seen a programme like ‘Traffic Cops’?
Someone steals a car, has no insurance, and has previously been banned from driving.
They tear up the countryside, smash into 3 parked cars, almost kill a dog and expend the resources of 10 officers. Whilst putting themselves and others at risk.
When they’re caught they have:
£20,000 of cocaine in the car.
A £65,000 Rolex watch.
£10,000 in cash, linked to drug trafficking.
At the end of the show, it tells you what punishment they got and it’s usually around a £200 fine and more points on their non-existence license. As if they care about points.
I sit there and think… “What the actual fuck?”
“Why is that fine so low?”
There are 2 reasons for these laughably low fines:
The convicted criminal gets a discount on their fines if they’re collecting benefits, job seekers allowance or universal credit.
The fine is decided by financially means-testing the convicted criminal.
You read that right. The criminal, once convicted, will be asked to fill in a form to outline their income and expenditure. To see how much they can afford to be fined.
Can you see a loophole here?
If their income is predominantly from illegitimate and nefarious sources, then they’re likely to be fined far less. Because their real or legitimate income could be far lower, or non-existent.
These laughably low fines then create no disincentive or consequence against repeat offending
The cycle will continue, with around 25% of all adult offenders proven to re-offend… and those are just the ones we catch.
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