RCIP say pay up, or pay the price

Police are warning ‘bail bandits’ and fine evaders to come forward immediately or they could face arrest as part of the service’s crackdown on crime.

Operation Octopus officers have been working to recover unpaid court fines, bring those to justice who fail to show up at court and stress the importance of upholding court orders, said an RCIP press release.

Since the operation’s launch last June, 193 warrants have been executed with more than $41,000 collected, the release said.

‘Offenders should be aware that they will not get away with dodging penalties imposed by the courts,’ said Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan.

‘This initiative is vital in showing people that the criminal justice system is not to be abused. The community wants to see punishments that fit the crime and they want to know that the court system is being respected.

‘Fines can only be credible sentencing options if they are enforced properly. The knowledge that offenders will be pursued if they try to avoid punishment will encourage them to turn up to court or pay their fine.’

Chief Inspector Marlon Bodden, who leads the operation added: ‘Some people may be under the impression that it’s just a minor offence and no-one will check to make sure they are held to account – this is not the case. Respect for the court means enforcing the orders of the court – no matter what the crime or penalty. If we were to ignore the little things, how can we expect to effectively tackle the big things?

‘What we would really like to see is people handing themselves in so we don’t have to go looking for them.’

Anyone who thinks they may have an outstanding warrant against them or has yet to pay a fine issued should contact their local police station as soon as possible.

Anyone who has come forward to pay their fines should keep a record of receipt as proof of payment, the release said.

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