A victims’ surcharge was introduced on fines in magistrate and crown courts at a rate of £15 per fine. This money is then used to help fund the £360 million compensation bill. The levy was initially opposed by the Magistrates’ Association as a stealth tax applied to offenders.It has now emerged that this surcharge is to be extended to include fines where the offence and fine are normally accepted and paid for by post. These include speeding and parking fines. It could also apply where you park facing the oncoming traffic (an offence as your rear reflectors are facing the wrong way), parking on the pavement or having a dirty windscreen.
There has been much comment on the injustice of those who commit ‘victimless crimes’ being forced to pay. But, at present, the taxpayer picks up virtually the whole bill. Last year the surcharge made up just 1.83% (£6.6 million) of the total £360 million bill.
For me this does not go far enough. Perpetrators of crime should put more into the coffers to redistribute to victims. We have laws that are designed to be proactive, to impose a penalty on a risk basis prior to something worse happening. When these laws are broken, (and yes I have been done for speeding and parking offences) it is only right that more money be taken to fund compensation.
And yes, this concept does apply to parking. If you park illegally you obstruct others.
When people exceed what society deems an acceptable risk barrier in a public place, they are more likely to cause other people physical, mental and financial damage. If convicted they may not have the wherewithal to fully compensate the victim(s). Why should the taxpayer pick up the bill? Why not make those that exceed what parliament has deemed as outside acceptable risk not be forced to pay?