Fare dodgers sentenced through paperless court system

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Nov 10, 2017
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The system means 18,000 commuter crimes a year can be prosecuted more quickly and efficiently

Lauren Hurley/PA 

More than 3,000 fare dodgers have been sentenced through a revolutionary new digital system.

The paperless process means thousands of offenders caught dodging fares or using fraudulent tickets can be punished more swiftly and effectively.

The system, developed by HM Courts and Tribunals Service in partnership with Transport for London (TfL), means that case papers no longer have to be processed manually and physically delivered to court.

Prosecution evidence is instead electronically transferred to courts. These cases are then considered by a magistrate and legal advisor on a laptop, freeing up time to focus on more serious crimes.

Plans are also in place to offer the system to other large public service organisations that prosecute thousands of cases a year, where the potential benefits would be magnified. Organisations with prosecuting powers include local authorities, HM Revenue & Customs and the Health and Safety Executive.

Under the system, which has been in operation at Lavender Hill magistrates’ court, TfL can prosecute some 18,000 commuter crimes a year more quickly and efficiently. The system has already processed about 4,200 cases since April and returned 3,000 sentences, enabling results of cases to be obtained immediately and speeding up enforcement.

Dominic Raab, the justice minister, said: “Using smart technology to punish fare dodgers swiftly and effectively is just one example of how our courts’ reform programme will strengthen the justice system.”

“We are investing £1 billion to digitise the justice system, making it more accessible for all citizens, more sensitive for witnesses and delivering better value for taxpayers’ money.”

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