Victoria Police say 25,000 fines for breaches of virus restrictions unpaid

Three quarters of Victorians issued fines for breaching the state’s tough Covid-19 rules are still yet to pay, police have revealed.

New crime figures from the Crime Statistics Agency showed 37,939 fines were handed out over the past 12 months for breaches of the chief health officer’s directions up to the end of March this year.

But Victoria Police deputy commissioner Rick Nugent said only 25 per cent of the fines had been paid to date.

At a minimum amount of $1652, that equates to more than $41m in unpaid penalties.

Another 2000 fines were reviewed by police and withdrawn, while another 2000 people elected to have their matter heard and determined by a court.

“We understand about 25,000 have defaulted to Fines Victoria that have not been paid,” Mr Nugent said.

“I actually expected more may well have elected to go to court than the numbers we have there.”

When asked if he was surprised by the amount of infringements that remained unpaid, Mr Nugent said he didn’t know enough generally about what percentage of fines usually proceeded to Fines Victoria for them to chase up.

But the deputy commissioner did acknowledge it was a “significant amount” that remained outstanding.

unpaid penalties

Camera IconA Covid-19 fine issued in Victoria last year. Credit: Supplied

unpaid penalties

Camera IconPolice check the details of a driver in Melbourne during the state’s latest lockdown. NCA NewsWire / David Crosling Credit: News Corp Australia

“Our general rule of thumb is where it’s a blatant and deliberate breach and someone deliberately chooses to ignore the directions and breach them, then a fine is generally issued,” Mr Nugent said.

“But we also rely on the discretion of our members who are out there in the community policing the pandemic.”

He said police had seen a far greater community compliance with the directions over the most recent lockdown in May and June compared to the extend lockdown from July to October last year.

“We’re not getting the so-called sovereign citizen piece at the moment much either so that makes it a bit easier for us,” Mr Nugent said.

A state government spokesperson said all fine debt would continue to be collected and enforced.

“We encourage anyone with an outstanding fine to contact Fines Victoria as there are many flexible options available to help resolve their fine,” they said.

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