Sunday, June 23, 2013
Unfair Becomes Absurd
"Regular readers of the blog will be aware that I have never been a fan of the so-called Victim [sic] Surcharge.
When it was first brought in I was able to explain it to John Humphrys on the Today programme.
The amounts are arbitrary, and the proceeds do not go to victims, but rather to various bodies such as the CPS. With the changes that have been in place since October 2012, the surcharge is extended to many more sentences. The surcharge on a fine is now 10% (as opposed to a flat £15) with a £20 minimum and is capped at £120. What that cap means is that very large fines (such as those for environmental or Health and Safety breaches) carry a proportionately lower charge than that levied on a small-time drunk or shoplifter.
The details are here.
The genius who cooked up these new rates only needs to spend a morning in a courtroom to see what a high proportion of those dealt with are broke, the majority on benefit.
Dafter still, an immediate prison sentence carries a surcharge of £80-£120 depending on its length. This will prove difficult to collect, and even if the effort is made, the cost will far exceed the amount recovered.
Let's give it time to settle in, and we can do an FoI request to find out just how much has been collected."
Victim surcharge: unintended consequences