Police announced on Monday that they were looking into outsourcing the execution of court warrants for overdue fines to private companies so that they can focus on their primary mission to protect the public.
In response to an audit office report’s suggestion that overdue fine collection should be more effective, police said that a study they commissioned on the use of private companies has been recently completed and the “issue is being promoted”.
The study was commissioned on orders of the justice minister and after the green light was given by the House watchdog committee, an announcement said.
The law enforcement agency stressed that no other EU police force is in charge of collecting overdue fines.
“It is mentioned for the umpteenth time, that the current needs and threats that prevail throughout the world but especially in all the countries of the European Union require that the state leave the police 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,” it said.
At the same time, police said, they have taken into consideration the suggestions of the audit office and are already taking a number of actions to collect as many fines as possible.
These measures include direct deduction of the due amount from salaries of civil servants who have outstanding fines, and continued checks at the airports “always taking into account the human dimension of the subject”.
The police are about to launch a procedure for the payment of outstanding fines online.
Police execute warrants for overdue fines amounting on average to €12m per year, they said.
“For this year, a goal was set to increase by 10 per cent the collection of court issued fines”.
The audit office said in a report that until last March, there were more than 266,000 unexecuted fine warrants amounting to more than €266m.
The majority of these warrants – 51 per cent – concern fines over €300.
The audit office report said that ineffective fine collection of these fines “promotes a culture of impunity”.
To prove their point, the audit office said that 80 per cent of the warrants issued in 2016 concerned people who had other unpaid fines pending.
It added that around 60,000 warrants for unpaid fines are issued each year, while the duties of 68 court officials and police officers concern exclusively this section. Around 228 more people also perform daily duties that concern these warrants.
The report also said that due to the lack of a computerised system for issuing and monitoring warrants in courts, the procedures are obsolete, time-consuming and prone to mistakes.