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New road traffic offence levy will support victims: Sugden

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Justice Minister Claire Sugden MLA
Justice Minister Claire Sugden MLA

Offenders who commit road traffic offences will now contribute to a fund for victims, the Justice Minister has today announced.

The offender levy scheme, which was first introduced in 2012, is today being rolled out to include endorsable fixed penalties issued by the PSNI and the Driver Vehicle Agency, including those issued in relation to speed cameras.

Justice Minister, Claire Sugden, said the additional funding will provide a boost to victim and witness services: “Victims and witnesses play a vital role in the effectiveness of the criminal justice system.  It is important that they are supported by quality services, and that we continually seek to improve those services, and that those who break the law should make a contribution to improving those services.”

The offender levy compels offenders to pay into a dedicated Victims of Crime Fund as part of their sentence or fine. A £5 levy will apply to the fixed penalty.

The Minister added: “Road traffic offences impact on the community as a whole and have the potential to cause serious injury, or worse, death in some cases. Today’s change will further enhance the support offered by government to the victims of these crimes.”

The offender levy initiative has already raised more than £800,000 for the Victims of Crime Fund. This roll-out of the scheme could provide an additional £150,000 per year.

1. The introduction of the offender levy has been staged. Stage one was introduced on 6 June 2012 and currently applies to:

  • Court imposed fines – at a fixed rate of £15;
  • Immediate custodial sentences – at a fixed rate of £25 or £50, depending on sentence length;

Fixed penalties issued by police for low-level offences – at a fixed rate of £5.

2. Only one levy will apply in a particular case, and the levy only applies to adult offenders (those aged 18 years and over).

3. Levy revenue resources a dedicated Victims of Crime Fund, managed centrally by the Department of Justice.  Since its introduction, the levy has raised over £800,000:

  • 2012/13 (introduced mid-year): £42,555
  • 2013/14: £208,264
  • 2014/15: £222,682
  • 2015/16: £233,020
  • 2016/17 (to date): £128,072

4. Revenue accrued from the Victims of Crime Fund and its associated spend is published annually on the DoJ website.

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