Unsurprisingly, some might say, figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that many criminals do not pay their fines. The Government started to use more on-the-spot fines for offences including anti-social behaviour and shoplifting in order to alleviate pressure from the courts and prison service.
However, and despite being warned over and over again by Conservative MPs that this would happen, of the £350m worth of fines issued, only £222m has been collected. But the Constitutional Affairs Department responsible for the collection of fines has now admitted that it does not know the true extent of unpaid fines.
This issue makes a mockery of Tony Blair's call to be "tough on crime", and from my conversations with people on the doorsteps, it seems like the last people to realise this are the Labour Government.