If you manage to get caught travelling at anything up to 50 mph in a 30 mph area by a speed camera, you will, most typically, receive a fixed penalty of £60.
However, if you decide to make your number plate unreadable, thus ensuring that you will never receive any fines from these cameras, you will (if you happen to be caught with an unreadable number plate by the police) receive a fixed penalty notice of… £60.
Is that a deterrent against obscuring your number plate, if you also have a propensity for speeding?
Another example. An MoT now costs £50.35. If you decide that’s too expensive, and drive around without one, you will – again, if you happen to be caught – receive a fixed penalty notice of… £60.
Ludicrously, the fine for both these offences was, as recently as 2009, only £30, leading the Home Office to note that
The current fixed penalty does not appear to be an adequate deterrent
But the ministers responsible evidently didn’t seem to stop and consider why the fine was inadequate, because they merely proposed raising the fine to the current £60 –
Without prejudice to possible other changes in future, such as making the offence endorsable, Ministers have therefore decided to raise the fixed penalty to £60.
That is, the same order of cost as a speed camera fine, or an MoT test. In other words, the fine level was raised from very ineffective to merely ineffective.
Do the words ‘cost-benefit analysis’ mean nothing to the Home Office?