Laura Sharman 14 March 2013

Councils accused of misusing on-the-spot fines

Local authorities have been accused of using on-the-spot fines as the ‘penalty of choice’, in a new report from the Manifesto Club.

Pavement Injustice argues that with 200,000 fines issued every year, there has been a shift from delivering public services to local authorities adopting a more ‘policing role’. It also argues that some local authorities are using these fines as a means of making extra revenue.

The report also states that on-the-spot fines are issued for a range of incidents, from criminal offences such as theft, to minor offences such as duck feeding or messy gardens.

Report author, Josie Appleton, said: ‘This report argues that on-the-spot fines are in general a lazy, unjust and predatory penalty, inherently disposed towards perverse effects and the arbitrary punishment of innocent people.

‘This report suggests that vast majority of these 200,000 incidents a year would be better dealt with through a different mechanism, whether it be court trial, public communication, school discipline, or – in the case of innocent duck feeders and leafleteers – not punished at all.’

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