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Parking fines warrants amnesty 17 September 2007

Pay overdue £60 fixed penalty tickets before October 31 or pay double

THE General Registry is offering an amnesty to everyone with outstanding vehicle fixed penalty tickets before a new enforcement system is introduced.

Responsibility for the enforcement of overdue fixed penalties for vehicle offences moves from the Isle of Man Constabulary to the Coroners from November 1. Under the new system, Coroners will be responsible for collecting £60 vehicle related fixed penalty tickets which have not been paid. But the amount payable will now double from £60 to £120 to include the Coroner’s collection fee of £60 (as approved by Tynwald via the Coroners Fees Order 2006 in October 2006).

Under the existing system, people have 42 days to pay the original fixed penalty of £40, including time to appeal. Failure to pay by the deadline means the amount increases to £60 and non-payment could result in a committal warrant being issued to the Police, potentially resulting in a seven day jail term.

Anyone who has an overdue vehicle fixed penalty will receive a letter from the General Registry this week confirming that they should pay £60 in the next six weeks to clear the debt. The General Registry is recalling previously issued warrants and suspending the issue of new warrants (including the reissue of any recalled warrants) until November 1 to give people the opportunity to pay before the amount doubles to £120.

Mr Alex Downie MLC, Treasury’s political liaison for the General Registry, said:

‘The new system transfers responsibility for the enforcement of vehicle fixed penalties to the Coroners, which will result in a warrant of execution being issued for non-payment rather than a warrant of committal. Although that sounds serious, it means the Coroners can seek payment and seize goods in lieu of payment. It’s both a more proportionate penalty for non-payment of a parking fine and also a better use of police time.’

At present more than £200,000 in vehicle fixed penalty tickets remains uncollected since January 2003. Every year police are asked to enforce around 500 court financial penalties and around 2,000 vehicle fixed penalties (e.g. parking fines). The new system being implemented under the 1985 Collection of Fines etc. Act will make Coroners responsible for collecting unpaid fixed penalties.

The change resulted from political criticism of the amount owed in unpaid fines. A Fines Working Group was established two years ago to look into the system, which resulted in a recommendation to the Council of Ministers to switch to the new system.

Fixed penalty payments can be made to the General Registry in a number of ways:-

By post: (using cheques or postal orders - payable to IoM Government)
The General Registry
Isle of Man Courts of Justice
Deemsters Walk,
Bucks Road,
DOUGLAS IM1 3AR

N.B. Please ensure that you include your name, address and Fixed Penalty ticket number along with payment as failure to do so may result in your payment being unallocated and a warrant being issued against you.

By telephone using a credit or debit card (telephone our dedicated payments line on 686423).

In person at the Courts of Justice payments counter.

To expedite swift payment it would be helpful if customers could have their fixed penalty ticket reference number available to quote when making payments in person.

Our counter and telephone payments service opening hours are 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 4.30pm on Fridays.

Motorists should note the new collection system relates only to £60 fixed penalty tickets issued by the police, traffic wardens or parking controllers and not for local authority or government-owned car parks. However, Fixed Penalty tickets included may also have been issued for ‘non-parking’ offences e.g. failure to display road tax etc.

For further information please visit our website: www.gov.im/registries

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