Two-thirds of confiscation orders this year remain unpaid

The SNP are presiding over a “monumental failure” to ensure fines imposed on criminals are being paid on time, the Scottish Conservatives have said.

New figures from the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service show that close to two-thirds of confiscation orders imposed on criminals in 2020-21 are yet to be collected, which is a three-fold increase from the previous year. A fifth of fines from 2019-20 are also still in arrears.

Over £1 million worth of confiscation orders from this year remain unpaid.

On top of that, over £8 million worth of other types of criminal fines in Scotland are still unpaid, stretching back to 2017-18.

Shadow Justice Secretary Jamie Greene says this is yet “another insult to victims” from the SNP who should urgently ensure criminals know they will not get away with not paying these fines.

Scottish Conservative Shadow Justice Secretary Jamie Greene MSP, said: “This is a monumental failure from the SNP. There is no point in imposing these fines on criminals, if they are then not paid.

“Even though the numbers of fines handed out has gone down this year, the percentage of fines that remain unpaid has risen three-fold. That is yet another insult to victims from the SNP.

“It is all too typical of the SNP’s soft-touch justice attitude. There are millions worth of fines that should have been collected in recent years.

“That money could be used to give critical funding to our justice system, as it recovers from the pandemic.

“Instead, criminals clearly know that they can get away with not paying these fines. SNP Ministers must use these figures as an urgent wake-up call and outline how they will guarantee these fines will always be collected as quickly as possible.”

Notes

  • Nearly two thirds of confiscation orders imposed this year are unpaid. The data tables from the latest criminal fines report confirms that 65 per cent of confiscation orders imposed in 2020-21 are currently in arrears. This equates to £1.144 million in unpaid fines for 2020-21. This is a significant increase on the percentage usually in arrears. 21 per cent of confiscation orders imposed in 2019-20 are currently in arrears, meaning the 2020-21 figure is three times higher than the previous year. (Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, Quarterly Criminal Fines Report 49, Page 12, Data Tables, 19 August 2021, link).
  • £8.4 million worth of criminal fines are currently unpaid in Scotland. As of 19 July 2021, the cumulative value of Sheriff Court fines, Justice of the Peace Court fines, Fiscal Direct Penalties and Police Fixed Penalties that were in arrears stood at £8.398 million. This includes data from the financial years of 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21. (Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, Quarterly Criminal Fines Report 49, Page 12, Data Tables, 19 August 2021, link).
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