Councils accused of misusing on-the-spot fines

Oh so easy for some researcher from some obscure think tank – anybody else never heard of this lot? – and suggest how things could be done better. Have they not noticed the carnage local government is suffering all in the name of deficit reduction?

That’s not to say that the public should be treated as cash cows to make up the funding gap, but how else would these sort of issues be dealt with, that didn’t demand far more resources and were likely to be less effective in the short term at least?

I would like to see some sort of public response to this criticism of councils and I don’t mean from the transgressors, but from those who have complained to their local council about these self same issues. I think I could hazard a guess that these people will take a very different view.

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Written by Laura Sharman

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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