Opinion in East Lancs divided over massive penalties increase

Opinion in East Lancs divided over massive penalties increase

Opinion in East Lancs divided over massive penalties increase

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Local government reporter

DRAMATIC increases in magistrates’ powers to fine motorists proposed by the government have split opinion in East Lancashire.

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle and former Eastern Division Chief Superintendent Bob Eastwood backed the move.

But Accrington-based driving safety expert Steve Johnson and Ribble Valley councillor and barrister Ken Hind opposed it.

Under the plans the highest fines, for offences including motorway speed-ing, could increase from £2,500 to £10,000.

The fine for driving a motor cycle without a helmet would rise from £500 to £2,000 and drunk and disorderly in a public place would increase from £1,000 to £4,000.

The proposals could also give magistrates’ unlimited fines for offences, such as drink driving, with a current maximum of £5,000 or more.

Magistrates would continue to take into account the seriousness of the offence when setting fines and Justice Minister Jeremy Wright stressed the higher fines were not an alternative to prison sentences where needed.

LibDem Mr Birtwistle said: “This is the right thing to do. It will be a real and effective deterrent to irresponsible drivers. It is time fine levels, unchanged for years, were updated.”

Mr Eastwood — former police boss for Hyndburn, Blackburn, Darwen and Ribble Valley — said: “This greater level of financial punishment is needed. We are talking about deterring serious offences that can cause death or injury not just to the driver but to others.”

But Coun Hind said: “It might be a deterrent but this increase is disproportionate.

“The fines need to increase but this rise is too high and looks more about increasing revenue than stopping offences.”

Former fire boss Mr Johnson, who organises the Under 17 Motor Club North West, said: “I think this is a terrible idea. We need more police traffic patrols enforcing the law and the deterrent of the worst offenders facing their cars being crushed and custodial sentences.”

Comments (15)

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9:15am Wed 11 Jun 14

shytalk says...

Speed and break the law and you pay a fine and get penalty points on your license. What's the problem? Seems some people don't think the law applies to them.
Speed and break the law and you pay a fine and get penalty points on your license. What's the problem? Seems some people don't think the law applies to them. shytalk
  • Score: 9

9:52am Wed 11 Jun 14

glossopkid says...

What an absurd idea, how many of these motorist will be able to pay the fines as there will be a loophole. I'm not denying there is a problem but the amounts to be paid are extremely high.
What an absurd idea, how many of these motorist will be able to pay the fines as there will be a loophole. I'm not denying there is a problem but the amounts to be paid are extremely high. glossopkid
  • Score: 8

10:22am Wed 11 Jun 14

karlBloomfie!d says...

Get caught speeding pay the price.
Get caught speeding pay the price. karlBloomfie!d
  • Score: 3

10:51am Wed 11 Jun 14

HarryBosch says...

IMHO whilst this increase in fines might address the issue of bad and reckless driving amongst the countries highest earners, those who see the current level of fine as an occupational hazard, they are disproportionate for the ordinary working person. However, I DO think that the current penalties should be addressed and in that regard I agree with Mr Johnson ie more police traffic patrols, more custodial sentences and the possibility that the cars of persistent offenders could be seized and crushed. I would also like to see more use of driver awareness and training courses for drivers who are caught driving without displaying due care.
IMHO whilst this increase in fines might address the issue of bad and reckless driving amongst the countries highest earners, those who see the current level of fine as an occupational hazard, they are disproportionate for the ordinary working person. However, I DO think that the current penalties should be addressed and in that regard I agree with Mr Johnson ie more police traffic patrols, more custodial sentences and the possibility that the cars of persistent offenders could be seized and crushed. I would also like to see more use of driver awareness and training courses for drivers who are caught driving without displaying due care. HarryBosch
  • Score: 8

11:33am Wed 11 Jun 14

rudis_dad says...

First of all, as per usual the LT have come up with a poor piece of reporting - the maximum fines proposed are just that - a maximum. It will be at the descretion of the presiding magistrate or judge to determine what the level of fine imposed will be, in which case nothing chages, other than it gives the courts more flexibility when it comes to dealing with persistent or better-off offenders.

Secondly though, I agree that increasing the maximum fine is not the way forward - it's a classic case of closing the stable door when the horse has bolted. The only answer to poor, negligent, dangerous and inconsiderate driving is enforcement, prevention and education. Sadly, as long as our police forces continue to be emasculated, this will never happen.
First of all, as per usual the LT have come up with a poor piece of reporting - the maximum fines proposed are just that - a maximum. It will be at the descretion of the presiding magistrate or judge to determine what the level of fine imposed will be, in which case nothing chages, other than it gives the courts more flexibility when it comes to dealing with persistent or better-off offenders. Secondly though, I agree that increasing the maximum fine is not the way forward - it's a classic case of closing the stable door when the horse has bolted. The only answer to poor, negligent, dangerous and inconsiderate driving is enforcement, prevention and education. Sadly, as long as our police forces continue to be emasculated, this will never happen. rudis_dad
  • Score: 5

12:24pm Wed 11 Jun 14

HelmshoreMan2010 says...

Speeding is just one lapse in concentration away from murder so I say this is a good idea.

As others have said, don't want to pay then don't speed.
Speeding is just one lapse in concentration away from murder so I say this is a good idea. As others have said, don't want to pay then don't speed. HelmshoreMan2010
  • Score: 4

12:57pm Wed 11 Jun 14

wilddog says...

you do the crime. ya pay the fine! Simple! If ya dont like it, then dont drive!
you do the crime. ya pay the fine! Simple! If ya dont like it, then dont drive! wilddog
  • Score: 2

1:11pm Wed 11 Jun 14

Old age pensioner says...

I would like to see our police on the streets cutting crime not stood behind lamp posts pointing radar guns, this is not what we pay them for, just another way to raise revenue.

P.S. No I have not been caught speeding this is just my honest opinion, next time you ring up after being burgled and they say someone will be round in a couple of hours then they pass you a couple of leaflets on how to over come stress and ask you are you insured and then leave, you know why I'm angry.
I would like to see our police on the streets cutting crime not stood behind lamp posts pointing radar guns, this is not what we pay them for, just another way to raise revenue. P.S. No I have not been caught speeding this is just my honest opinion, next time you ring up after being burgled and they say someone will be round in a couple of hours then they pass you a couple of leaflets on how to over come stress and ask you are you insured and then leave, you know why I'm angry. Old age pensioner
  • Score: 3

1:16pm Wed 11 Jun 14

Steven Seagull says...

Old age pensioner wrote:
I would like to see our police on the streets cutting crime not stood behind lamp posts pointing radar guns, this is not what we pay them for, just another way to raise revenue.

P.S. No I have not been caught speeding this is just my honest opinion, next time you ring up after being burgled and they say someone will be round in a couple of hours then they pass you a couple of leaflets on how to over come stress and ask you are you insured and then leave, you know why I'm angry.
So you don't think the police should ensure speed limits are enforced then?

Should people just be allowed to drive at whatever speed they want?
[quote][p][bold]Old age pensioner[/bold] wrote: I would like to see our police on the streets cutting crime not stood behind lamp posts pointing radar guns, this is not what we pay them for, just another way to raise revenue. P.S. No I have not been caught speeding this is just my honest opinion, next time you ring up after being burgled and they say someone will be round in a couple of hours then they pass you a couple of leaflets on how to over come stress and ask you are you insured and then leave, you know why I'm angry.[/p][/quote]So you don't think the police should ensure speed limits are enforced then? Should people just be allowed to drive at whatever speed they want? Steven Seagull
  • Score: 5

1:18pm Wed 11 Jun 14

HelmshoreMan2010 says...

Old age pensioner wrote:
I would like to see our police on the streets cutting crime not stood behind lamp posts pointing radar guns, this is not what we pay them for, just another way to raise revenue.

P.S. No I have not been caught speeding this is just my honest opinion, next time you ring up after being burgled and they say someone will be round in a couple of hours then they pass you a couple of leaflets on how to over come stress and ask you are you insured and then leave, you know why I'm angry.
I do agree with you about the being burgled, don't get me wrong.

But standing behind a lamp post pointing a radar gun is also cutting crime, possessions in a house can (most of the time) be replaced, a child crossing a street in front of a speeding driver sadly can't be replaced.

The only thing stopping most people speeding is the fear of getting caught, so the radar guns behind lamp posts are saving lives.
[quote][p][bold]Old age pensioner[/bold] wrote: I would like to see our police on the streets cutting crime not stood behind lamp posts pointing radar guns, this is not what we pay them for, just another way to raise revenue. P.S. No I have not been caught speeding this is just my honest opinion, next time you ring up after being burgled and they say someone will be round in a couple of hours then they pass you a couple of leaflets on how to over come stress and ask you are you insured and then leave, you know why I'm angry.[/p][/quote]I do agree with you about the being burgled, don't get me wrong. But standing behind a lamp post pointing a radar gun is also cutting crime, possessions in a house can (most of the time) be replaced, a child crossing a street in front of a speeding driver sadly can't be replaced. The only thing stopping most people speeding is the fear of getting caught, so the radar guns behind lamp posts are saving lives. HelmshoreMan2010
  • Score: 6

1:48pm Wed 11 Jun 14

GracesDad says...

We should adopt the same laws as used in Sweden where the fine is calculated using the drivers income and severity of the offence. One motorist was fined £650000 for driving at 180mph.
We should adopt the same laws as used in Sweden where the fine is calculated using the drivers income and severity of the offence. One motorist was fined £650000 for driving at 180mph. GracesDad
  • Score: 4

3:10pm Wed 11 Jun 14

Old age pensioner says...

HelmshoreMan2010 wrote:
Old age pensioner wrote:
I would like to see our police on the streets cutting crime not stood behind lamp posts pointing radar guns, this is not what we pay them for, just another way to raise revenue.

P.S. No I have not been caught speeding this is just my honest opinion, next time you ring up after being burgled and they say someone will be round in a couple of hours then they pass you a couple of leaflets on how to over come stress and ask you are you insured and then leave, you know why I'm angry.
I do agree with you about the being burgled, don't get me wrong.

But standing behind a lamp post pointing a radar gun is also cutting crime, possessions in a house can (most of the time) be replaced, a child crossing a street in front of a speeding driver sadly can't be replaced.

The only thing stopping most people speeding is the fear of getting caught, so the radar guns behind lamp posts are saving lives.
I totally agree with your comments as Well. But should we priorities speeding when there's muggings and rapes and murders going on in every town locally, it's a no win arguments this, it's just everyone's opinion, I also agree speeding is dangerous and does cost lives and if we had bobbys all over the place lets stop them all but unfortunately we haven't.
[quote][p][bold]HelmshoreMan2010[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Old age pensioner[/bold] wrote: I would like to see our police on the streets cutting crime not stood behind lamp posts pointing radar guns, this is not what we pay them for, just another way to raise revenue. P.S. No I have not been caught speeding this is just my honest opinion, next time you ring up after being burgled and they say someone will be round in a couple of hours then they pass you a couple of leaflets on how to over come stress and ask you are you insured and then leave, you know why I'm angry.[/p][/quote]I do agree with you about the being burgled, don't get me wrong. But standing behind a lamp post pointing a radar gun is also cutting crime, possessions in a house can (most of the time) be replaced, a child crossing a street in front of a speeding driver sadly can't be replaced. The only thing stopping most people speeding is the fear of getting caught, so the radar guns behind lamp posts are saving lives.[/p][/quote]I totally agree with your comments as Well. But should we priorities speeding when there's muggings and rapes and murders going on in every town locally, it's a no win arguments this, it's just everyone's opinion, I also agree speeding is dangerous and does cost lives and if we had bobbys all over the place lets stop them all but unfortunately we haven't. Old age pensioner
  • Score: -2

3:37pm Wed 11 Jun 14

HarryBosch says...

In answer to the commenter 's who have said that other crimes should take priority eg burglary, I say, yes, in the big scheme of things, but let me remind you that the police service is split into different specialities eg geographical patrol, public protection, CID etc and TRAFFIC. The traffic officers are dedicated solely to traffic matters. So if you are burgled the fact that a traffic officer may be out catching speeders is irrelevant. And I would rather they 'hide behind lampposts' as you put it than the alternative, which is picking up the pieces after a fatal RTA or having to do a 4am knock to tell a family member that their son/daughter/husband
/wife etc won't be coming home ever again because some clunge driving like batman has killed them.
In answer to the commenter 's who have said that other crimes should take priority eg burglary, I say, yes, in the big scheme of things, but let me remind you that the police service is split into different specialities eg geographical patrol, public protection, CID etc and TRAFFIC. The traffic officers are dedicated solely to traffic matters. So if you are burgled the fact that a traffic officer may be out catching speeders is irrelevant. And I would rather they 'hide behind lampposts' as you put it than the alternative, which is picking up the pieces after a fatal RTA or having to do a 4am knock to tell a family member that their son/daughter/husband /wife etc won't be coming home ever again because some clunge driving like batman has killed them. HarryBosch
  • Score: 9

3:54pm Wed 11 Jun 14

Wyn says...

Mr Birtwistle clearly knows zilch about the Court system. The limit could be raised to £250,000 but if a person is on benefits - which the majority are who come before the Courts - they are fined, like everyone else, according to their means - you can't get blood out of a stone so the saying goes. Most who come before the Courts are either not working, on a low income, or on benefits. Of course the seriousness of the offence is always considered but a straight forward speeeding offence will most likely end up as a fixed penalty.

Those in emplyment and higher earners will be fined according to their means as they are now so I cannot see anything changing - could it be propaganda?
Mr Birtwistle clearly knows zilch about the Court system. The limit could be raised to £250,000 but if a person is on benefits - which the majority are who come before the Courts - they are fined, like everyone else, according to their means - you can't get blood out of a stone so the saying goes. Most who come before the Courts are either not working, on a low income, or on benefits. Of course the seriousness of the offence is always considered but a straight forward speeeding offence will most likely end up as a fixed penalty. Those in emplyment and higher earners will be fined according to their means as they are now so I cannot see anything changing - could it be propaganda? Wyn
  • Score: 4

7:16pm Wed 11 Jun 14

MartonBlue says...

Wyn wrote:
Mr Birtwistle clearly knows zilch about the Court system. The limit could be raised to £250,000 but if a person is on benefits - which the majority are who come before the Courts - they are fined, like everyone else, according to their means - you can't get blood out of a stone so the saying goes. Most who come before the Courts are either not working, on a low income, or on benefits. Of course the seriousness of the offence is always considered but a straight forward speeeding offence will most likely end up as a fixed penalty.

Those in emplyment and higher earners will be fined according to their means as they are now so I cannot see anything changing - could it be propaganda?
But isn't it a surprise that they are bringing in increased fines while they are trying to privatise the collection of fines from the court service.
Who would you like collecting your fine a court service who do not add extra costs to your fine if you pay in installments or a Private Company who is allowed to put on their own charges if you cannot pay your fine in full? Once again making money out of misery for big companies.

These increases in fine don't only mean an increase in motoring fines but all fines.

The proposed changes would see:

• The Level 1 fine maximum increase from £200 to £800. Offences which may be dealt with by a Level 1 fine include unauthorised cycle racing on public ways

• Level 2 increases from £500 to £2,000. Offences include driving a motor cycle without a protective helmet

• Level 3 increases from £1,000 to £4,000. Offences include the sale of alcohol to a drunk person or being drunk and disorderly in a public place & not having a TV Licence

• Level 4 increases from £2,500 to £10,000. Offences include speeding on the motorway

Magistrate fines collected at the end of 2012/13 reached a record high of £284m and continued to rise during the last financial year, the Ministry of Justice added.
[quote][p][bold]Wyn[/bold] wrote: Mr Birtwistle clearly knows zilch about the Court system. The limit could be raised to £250,000 but if a person is on benefits - which the majority are who come before the Courts - they are fined, like everyone else, according to their means - you can't get blood out of a stone so the saying goes. Most who come before the Courts are either not working, on a low income, or on benefits. Of course the seriousness of the offence is always considered but a straight forward speeeding offence will most likely end up as a fixed penalty. Those in emplyment and higher earners will be fined according to their means as they are now so I cannot see anything changing - could it be propaganda?[/p][/quote]But isn't it a surprise that they are bringing in increased fines while they are trying to privatise the collection of fines from the court service. Who would you like collecting your fine a court service who do not add extra costs to your fine if you pay in installments or a Private Company who is allowed to put on their own charges if you cannot pay your fine in full? Once again making money out of misery for big companies. These increases in fine don't only mean an increase in motoring fines but all fines. The proposed changes would see: • The Level 1 fine maximum increase from £200 to £800. Offences which may be dealt with by a Level 1 fine include unauthorised cycle racing on public ways • Level 2 increases from £500 to £2,000. Offences include driving a motor cycle without a protective helmet • Level 3 increases from £1,000 to £4,000. Offences include the sale of alcohol to a drunk person or being drunk and disorderly in a public place & not having a TV Licence • Level 4 increases from £2,500 to £10,000. Offences include speeding on the motorway Magistrate fines collected at the end of 2012/13 reached a record high of £284m and continued to rise during the last financial year, the Ministry of Justice added. MartonBlue
  • Score: 2

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