среда, 29 февраля 2012 г.

Vic: Clamped - Vic fine defaulters in crackdown

AAP General News (Australia)
Vic: Clamped - Vic fine defaulters in crackdown

MELBOURNE, Aug 18 AAP - Authorities have started clamping the car wheels of serious
fine defaulters across Victoria under tough new powers handed to the state's Sheriff's

Officers armed with registration details swooped on a car park at the Queen Victoria
market in North Melbourne today, clamping the wheels on five cars and issuing 25 warning

The operation signalled the introduction of new powers which allow the Sheriff's Office
to clamp the wheels of vehicles belonging to people with unpaid fines for traffic offences,
parking tickets, public transport fare evasion and other offences.

There are currently up to 430,000 fine defaulters in Victoria.

A Department of Justice spokeswoman said one fine defaulter who's car was clamped owed
$49,000 in unpaid fines.

"They identified vehicles that had (in total) $140,000 in outstanding fines," the spokeswoman

"One car alone had fines worth $49,000," she said.

"They clamped five cars in total in one location, in one car park at the Queen Victoria market."

Registration details were used to check a driver's fine status.

The spokeswoman said there was one case where a car that was clamped had changed ownership
recently and the transfer papers had not gone through.

"Somebody hadn't transferred the ownership and it was actually a previous owner who
had the fines."

She said the clamps were removed once the paperwork was faxed through to officers on site.

The spokeswoman said the clamps on the other four cars were only removed when the owners
agreed to pay the fine either in full or by instalment.

"If they are the owner then they make arrangements to pay ... and then the wheel clamp
is taken off and they can drive away," she said.

"But if they don't keep the instalments going then the warrants come out again."

Premier Steve Bracks said the tough approach had already worked in other jurisdictions.

"We've had experience in other areas ... in South Australia and overseas jurisdictions,
where being tough on those who are persistently not paying their fines (has worked),"

Mr Bracks told reporters today.

"We believe those penalties will have an impact," he said.

The Bracks government was confident the measure would help claw back more than $700
million owed to it in unpaid court and police fines.

Opposition police spokesman Kim Wells said he supported the tough new approach to fine

"You have to send a clear message," Mr Wells said.

"What's the point of having fines if they are not going to be enforced," he said.

"One fine, two fines, people getting 20 and 30 fines.

"Of course in the end they have to be wheel clamped, otherwise the whole system will
break down and people won't pay their fines.

"You have to do what you have to do at the end of the day to enforce the law."

AAP sam/dk/sp


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