We recently ran a survey to hear how fines are impacting on young people under 25 years.
The survey highlighted that many of the 150 young people who received fines, cannot afford to pay the fines.
Almost half the young people fined said they could not pay the full fine, with most saying that having a fine added stress to their life, with nearly one quarter of the young people being left with a large debt they cannot pay off .
Unpaid fines are ineffective , wasting considerable court and government resources. However if fines were reduced to a sum proportionate to their income then young people are more likely to pay the fine.
There was recognition in the survey results that a warning from ticket inspectors , police or protective service officers would often be enough for deterrence or to de-escalate a situation, rather than issuing multiple fines. However 3 out of 5 young people reported they did not receive a warning from the relevant officer.
Interestingly about half of the young people who had received a fine had a negative interaction (i.e. treated rudely and/or aggressively) with the enforcing officer, and the other half had a positive interaction (i.e. treated professionally or respectfully). Most of these fines were issued by public transport authorised officers, some by members of Victoria Police or Protective Service Officers.
Given this mix of experiences and the high volume of interactions between ticket inspectors, police and young people, it seems highly relevant to recommend these enforcement officers receive training in working with young people to help promote consistent, respectful and fair treatment of all young people.