Inspectorate urges action on fine enforcement without harming compliance rates

A report on fine enforcement in Northern Ireland by CJI has found that maintaining Northern Ireland’s high compliance rate is placing a substantial burden on police service and prison service resources.  View Report. View Press Release.

Dr Michael Maguire, CJI’s Chief Inspector said that Northern Ireland imprisons more people for fine default than most other countries, with around 2000 people processed every year for short sentences in relation to fine default.  And he pointed out that police resources were also being used to enforce small fines which were viewed by the PSNI as a poor use of a police officer’s time.  “This report has recommended that the number of people going to prison for fine default should be reduced, and that the police should focus their efforts on dealing with persistent fine defaulters instead,” said Dr Maguire.  “We believe the role of the Court Service could be enhanced and that a more co-ordinated approach across the justice system, could help maintain the existing high compliance rates around fine enforcement while reducing the burden placed on the police and prison services,” said the Chief Inspector.