Motoring fines to rise by £15 for Victim’s Surcharge

January 10, 2010

This was reported in some of the papers last week and if it’s true could increase the cost of things like parking tickets and speeding fines by £15 a time!

I have no problems with the Victims Surcharge, the victims of crime should recieve some kind of compensation from the offender, but who the heck is the ‘victim’ if you get a parking ticket?

It looks like the government has just found another way to extract money from the UK’s already hardpressed drivers and riders!  What else is new?

Currently the ‘Victims’ Surcharge’ is only handed out with more serious fines from the courts, but it will be added to fixed penalty tickets for offences such as speeding and other parking misdemeanours, according to a Parliamentary answer.

Ministers said that they plan to extend the victim surcharge to fixed-penalty notices and ‘road traffic offences’, an idea first considered by Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary in April last year. This would mean the minimum £60 fine for speeding would rise to £75.

Other offences where motorists might be liable to pay the surcharge include having dirty windows or a tyre with insufficient tread.

In the Parliamentary reply, Claire Ward, the Justice Minister, said: “It is Government policy that, where possible, offenders should contribute to victims’ services as part of their reparation.

“Provisions were therefore included in the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 providing for a surcharge to be payable on criminal convictions, penalty notices for disorder and on fixed penalty notices for road traffic offences where the offences are persistent and serious.

“The victim surcharge has been applied initially only to fines imposed in magistrates and Crown courts at a rate of £15. We intend to add the surcharge to other disposals as soon as it becomes feasible.

“Proceeds raised from the surcharge provide a ring-fenced source of funding for a wide variety of organisations providing non-financial support to victims and witnesses of crime.”

Matthew Elliott, of the Tax Payers’ Alliance, told The Daily Mail that the surcharge was “clearly another stealth tax designed to plug Britain’s huge debt.”

“If the Treasury wants to raise money from the courts, it should be more honest and call this surcharge a ‘justice tax’,” he said.

“By calling it a ‘victims’ surcharge’ and applying it to minor motoring offences and parking tickets where there are clearly no victims, the Government is making a mockery of the tax system.”

The Victim’s Surcharge was introduced in April 2007 and latest figures show that between April 2008 and January 2009 it raised more than £6.6million.

But that figure would be pale in comparison if it were extended to fines handed out away from the courts.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “The MoJ spends over £360million a year supporting and compensating victims. It is right that offenders should contribute towards these services.”

Original story


Motorcycle Parking Charges – Coming To A Town Near You!

June 19, 2009

I’ve been doing a bit of reading about the motorcycle parking charges in London and came across some rather interesting information this morning..

Apparently there are ‘murmurs’ going round a few other councils about the possibility of introducing parking charges for bikes.  These other councils are watching Westminster to see how well the scheme is introduced, and what the outcome is.

Considering that Westminster would have raked in approximately £4,000,000 (yep you did read that correctly £4 MILLION) this year, you can bet that other councils are gleefully rubbing their hands together at the thought of all that possible extra income they could get their grubby little mitts on!

I personally love the fact that I can park for free in my home town, and would be at the forefront of protestors if there was a possibility I would have to pay.  My bike puts out less emmissions, takes up so much less space than a car in a car park, and gets me about a damn sight easier than the poor buggers stuck in the traffic queues.  In an age where we are told to use less fuel, reduce Co2 emmissions etc, I think its outrageous that parking fees should be levied to those who are doing their bit.  The fact we ride bikes because we love them has bugger all to do with anything as far as I’m concerned, we are still contributing less as far as congestion, emissions, etc., than car drivers!

Here is a list of the councils and other organisations who are murmuring about bike parking charges:

City of York
Birmingham City
Salisbury
Cheltenham
Manchester
Harrow
Lincoln
Colchester
Oxford
Darlington BC
NCP car parks
Euro car parks
CP Plus
Apcoa UK

If you live in one of these towns, use the car parks, or commute to work in one of these towns everyday, make sure to keep an eye on what your local council is doing.  Otherwise you too may, one day, see a sign like this where you go to park your bike up.

Motorcycle Parking Tax Sign Outside Infinity Motorcycles!

To check out the latest on the No To The Bike Parking Tax campaign, follow the link


No To The Bike Parking Tax

June 18, 2009

First there was MONDAY MAYHEM…..

31sr March 2009 - Bike Parking Tax Demo

Then there was LOOPY TUESDAY

11th Mat 2009 - First Group Arriving From The Ace

Next up will be OBJECTION WEDNESDAY!!!!

NEXT DEMO: WEDS, 1ST OF JULY! – “OBJECTION WEDNESDAY!”

Weds, 1st July 09 Meet GOLDEN SQUARE, W1 (ROUTE MAP) between 5.45pm and 6.20pm, leaving at 6:30pm for ride to Westminster City Hall to arrive at 7pm…

Next up is another round of objections against the motorcycle/scooter parking tax scheme in Westminster City Council. In their attempt to make the scheme permanent (however permanent does not mean permanent), WCC by law, have to apply for a new traffic order and then open this new traffic order to objections, the objection window is 3 weeks from 11th June 09 to 2nd July 09.

On the eve of the final day for objections we will be organising a MEGA OBJECTION HAND IN DEMO right out side Westminster City Hall, Victoria St, SW1, (taking it back to the source of the problem, we haven’t forgotten Danny “Boy” Chalkley either), do clear your diaries on the 1st July, WE NEED YOU THERE. This is one of the few occasions when anybody truly against this tax can have their say, and to have that opinion officially noted.

DOWNLOAD THE OBJECTION FORM (PDF).

Print it out fill it in, bring it along to the demo on the day when we will be handing them in to Westminster City Hall one by one. Let’s make them work! Get has many people as you know to fill this form in, we need thousands upon thousands to object. Remember, this is the thin end of the wedge, WESTMINSTER NOW YOUR COUNCIL NEXT!

Fliers for 1st July 09 “Objection Wednesday”

To stay informed, sign up to our email alerts using the small form on the right, we will send weekly campaign updates, WE WILL NEVER SPAM. Spread the word!

Source


Devon County Council Charges Biker £505 For Road Signs Used At The Scene Of His Accident

June 16, 2009

Almost TWO years after having an accident, a motorcyclist who spent two weeks in intensive care after suffering severe head injuries, has been sent a bill for £505.34….. for the use of 16 road cones, 4 road closure signs, 7 sandbags and 4 diversion signs!

The bill, received by Alex Hall, was sent by the council using ‘discretionary powers’ apparently granted under the Highways Act.  Mr Hall who pleaded guilty to careless driving after the accident had already paid a fine of £140, plus costs which INCLUDED £240 for clean up and recovery! He also received 5 points on his licence.

While the council claims it is standard practice to recover these costs, the Institute of Advanced Motorists says it has never come across it.

A Devon County Council spokesman said:

“It’s not the first time we’ve recovered costs of remedial work from a motorist. Councils are entitled to recover the costs of remedial works from any person responsible for damage, spillage or debris on the highway. This is in accordance with the Highways Act 1980.

Apparently the council notified Mr. Hall in September 2008 that there would be a charge for the use of the signs, etc., and the invoice was sent out in December.  Is it just me or is that an excessively long wait by the council?

Mr. Hall said of the unexpected bill:

“I can’t quite believe it. I thought all the expenses I’d already paid two years ago would mean an end to this horrid ordeal.

“It is a ridiculous saga and it’s causing me further trauma . . . £505 is a huge amount of money for me. I have just recently finished an apprenticeship in aircraft engineering and I’ve not been earning much money, so to me every penny counts.”

The cost of the use of the claim is not covered under Mr. Halls Insurance and he is reluctantly agreeing  to pay the bill off in instalments.

If anyone else has had this happen please add a comment, as it is not something I’ve heard of before..
Source


2009 Bulldog Bash In The News Again This Morning

May 19, 2009

bulldogbash468x60

The 2009 Bulldog Bash, taking place this year between 6th – 10th August, made the TV news again this morning.  Apparently the police are asking for a review of the 10 year licence granted by Stratford Council last year, despite police objections.

They are citing “rising levels of violence between criminal members of motorcycle gangs” as their reason for the review.  This first made the news back in February when Police Chiefs announced on their website they want it scrapped, after apparently recieving intellegence that gangs were planning a reprisal attack after the unfortunate death of Gerry Tobin, miles away from the Bulldog Bash site in 2007.

Last year the local force spent £1.4 MILLION, yep, you did read that right, £1.4 million patrolling the outside of the gathering.  The police used number plate recognition technology and stop and search on people attending and all this resulted in 26, out of about 20,000, people being arrested.  A vast number of people and vehicles were searched and some were found to be taking camping knives, ermm, to a camping event!!!

If you work it out, 24 ‘offensive’ weapons were siezed, £1.4 milion was spent by the police, so it works out at £58,333 per ‘offensive’ weapon taken from law abiding campers!!! A tad excessive, don’t you think?  It looks like the only really dangerous weapons anywhere near the site were the guns carried by some of the police themselves at the gates to the ground!!!

Both the locals and organisers of last years event condemned police for their excessive and unnecessary security checks, which included blocking off some local roads in the area, which no doubt caused inconvenience to local residents.  This, as well as the stop and search tatics used by police, also resulted in fewer people leaving the site over the weekend to visit the local community, which meant local shop owners suffered a loss in revenue, based on previous years takings.

Here is the information from the BBC’s website for the local area.

Biker Event Licence Review Sought

Warwickshire Police has applied for a review of a licence for a biker festival which was attended by a man who was murdered on his way home.  Hells Angel Gerry Tobin, 35, of Mottingham, south-east London, was returning from the Bulldog Bash in 2007 when he was shot on the M40.  Seven members of The Outlaws biker gang were jailed for life for his murder.
The force said it has serious concerns about rising levels of violence between “criminal members of motorcycle gangs”.

The Bulldog Bash is due to be held at Long Marston airfield near Stratford-upon-Avon from 6 to 10 August.

‘Many locations’

A 10-year licence was granted by Stratford District Council a year ago despite Warwickshire Police’s objections, the force said.  Warwickshire Police said it has made it clear it would prefer the event does not take place following the shooting of Mr Tobin and “violence which has occurred since, both in the UK and abroad”.

Assistant Chief Constable Bill Holland said: “The decision to seek a review of the licence is in no way connected with the law abiding majority of motorcyclists who attend the event.  “Law abiding motorcyclists are welcome in Warwickshire and there are many locations in the county where bike enthusiasts meet on a regular basis.”

Police said its objection to the Bulldog Bash was about criminality and “the need to protect the public from harm here in Warwickshire, across the UK and abroad”.  Mr Holland added: “We consider that the actions of a minority could jeopardise the safety of the public and this is why we are seeking a review.”

Warwickshire Police said it had been working closely with local people and businesses “to try to minimise the impact of the significant policing operation we anticipate will be required” if the event goes ahead.

Given the state of the current economic climate no doubt the local community will have absolutely no objections to losing the potential income from the sudden influx of bikes to the area, which in all honesty must run to quite a few quid extra in the coffers.

Plus, I’m pretty sure the hard working, tax paying people of Warwickshire can sleep well in their beds at night, knowing their money will once again be wisely spent when policing this years event!!!

By the way, I’ve seen the figure of £1.9 million being used as the estimate for the costs of policing this years event!

Please feel free to comment on this..

Sources

Coventry News – 02/03/09

BBC News – 18/05/09

Bulldog Bash Website


Speed Camera Boss Gets Ban For Doing 102 Mph!

May 6, 2009

I’m sorry but I really had to giggle when I read this story.  Talk about justice!

Tom Riall, Chief Executive of Serco, the company responsible for the installation and maintenence of speed cameras was clocked, in January 2009, doing 102 mph on the eastbound side of the A14.  This section of dual carriageway has a speed limit of 70 mph!

Riall has previous motoring convictions from 2006 and 2007, one of which was also for speeding and told magistrates that a potential ban would be a significant punsihment on him as an individual, and may affect the possibility of keeping his children in their current private schools.  He estimated that it would cost in the region of £30,000 to hire 2 personal drivers for the duration of a 6 month ban.

He asked if the magistrates would consider not giving him a penalty which would take him past the 12 point mark, which would of course lead to an automatic ban.  He also pointed out that the offence had caused him considerable personal embarrassment… Awwwww… Poor man!

I’m sorry but speeding at that level does deserve punishment, no matter who you are and the magistrates rejected his plea and put 6 points on his licence and also imposed a £300 fine. As a result of the 6 points being added to his licence, Riall now faces a 6 month driving ban.

Just because you are the person who’s company puts the speed cameras all around the UK, does not mean you are above the law and should be entitled to special treatment.  Luckily for him, he seems to be in a position where he can pay for drivers to chauffeur him about, but how many of us ‘lesser mortals’ are in that position.  How many people have lost their jobs as a result of speeding convictions?

I do feel that the law is somewhat rigid on the question of speeding though.  While I do not condone speeding I cannot see the point of convicting people for going over the speed limit if there is no one else travelling on the same bit of road as yourself.  Surely some level of common sense can be used if they are not too much in excess of the posted limit!

But then again maybe not, what do you think?

Full Story


Bike Theft Foiled By Lucky(?) Breakdown

February 21, 2009

I just had to giggle about this piece of news that I came across today, talk about being glad that your motorbike broke down!

A certain gentleman called Mark Machae of Worcester went to have a look at a motorbike and after viewing the machine for a while asked if he could take it for a test ride as he definately wanted to buy it.  Like most sensible owners, the person selling the bike told him that he could provided he handed over the £1200 asking price.

Which he did, in a brown envelope!

Unfortunately the stash of £20 notes turned out to be photocopies and Mr Machae was in fact stealing the bike!

But all was not lost!

Luckily, or unluckily for Mr Machae, the bike broke down on the test ride and he was caught thanks to DNA evidence gained from a hair in a baseball cap, left at the scene of the theft, which forensic experts were able to match to Mr Machae.   Mr Machae was sentenced to 4 months in prison, suspended for 2 years as well as being subject to a drug rehab requirement and was also ordered to pay £300 compensation.

Most of us are less than happy if our bikes break down, but I can bet you anything you like the owner was VERY glad of this breakdown.

I know I would have been if someone was was trying to nick my bike!

If you are selling a motorbike and someone wants to have a test ride make sure you really check any cash handed over as you may unwittingly be the victim of a similar scam.  And you probably won’t be lucky enough to have your bike break down on the test ride.