The police command is absolutely right to complain about the many hours officers waste collecting overdue fines and demanding that this time-consuming job be outsourced. It is not the police’s job to execute court warrants for unpaid fines in the same way it is not their job to administer the call-ups for National Guard reservists, which they had been in charge of for many years.
For years, the authorities assumed these were jobs for the police force, which was probably over-staffed in the past, even though this is not the case any longer. The time of many officers was wasted looking for people that did not want to pay their fines or men that wanted to get out of doing reservist service. A lot of police time was also wasted with officers being obliged to show up at even minor car crashes, in which a bumper may have been slightly dented, to take statements and write a report.
This was an irrational use of resources that has become indefensible today when there are so many more important things for the police to deal with. Apart from the rise in petty crime society now needs police able to tackle cyber and financial crime that needs special training. Currently, there are small units in the force dealing with this type of crime that is on the rise. These must be expanded and the officers given specialist training if they are to become effective units.
Outsourcing the execution of court warrants for unpaid fines is the correct decision, the only surprise being that it took so long to take. In no other EU country is the collection of unpaid fines the job of the police, who here are also criticised by the auditor-general for not performing the task satisfactorily. The sooner this job is outsourced the better and the police should also stop dealing with minor car crashes. If there are no injuries, insurance companies should be left to resolve matters between them and if they cannot, they could pay for an arbitration service to do it for them.
The statement issued by police on Tuesday hit the nail on the head. “It is mentioned for the umpteenth time that the current threats and needs that prevail throughout the world but especially in all countries of the European Union require that the state leave the police force to concentrate, without any distractions, on its primary mission, which is the security and protection of the public, by relieving it from non-police duties.”