Up to 12 million motorists are slapped with Penalty Notices for offences ranging from speeding to stopping in bus lanes each year.
Between Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) and Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) – which are criminal and civil charges respectively – a charge is issued on average every 2.5 seconds.
The majority – eight million – are PCNs issued by local councils for infringement of parking restrictions..
A further 2.5 million were for breaching bus lane and box junction rules and one million were issued for speeding and jumping red lights.
Half a million Penalty Notices issued for licensing and insurance issues
Around 500,000 were issued with late licensing and insurance penalties.
The statistics have been published following a study to examine the use of automated enforcement technology such as speed cameras and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems.
It found that between 2011 and 2015 the proportion of Penalty Notices issued after camera detection of an offense rose from 52 per cent to 74 per cent.
The report also highlighted the falling numbers of dedicated police officers over a similar period.
Automatic Penalty Notices ‘can’t make judgement calls’
The study’s author, Dr Adam Snow, warned that while cameras can’t discriminate on grounds of race, religion or gender, they also can’t make judgement calls based on discretion or common sense, which, he said, could lead to mistrust of the enforcement process.
Analysts are also concerned that over-reliance on automated systems to issue Fixed Penalty Notices rather than officers on the road could see serious offences go unpunished while millions of drivers are charged for what are deemed “more minor infractions”.
Dr Snow added: “Automated enforcement promises much in terms of speed and cost efficiency for financially-squeezed police forces and councils.”
‘Driving public are entitled to fairness and justice’
“However, the driving public are entitled to ask for more weighty principles such as fairness and justice to be taken into consideration when confronted with potential wrongdoing.
“Quite how those who ensure the safety of our roads through enforcement can provide both cost effectiveness and justice is a challenge that requires debate and engaged minds.”
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