Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown has voiced his concerns in the sharp increase in cases where innocent drivers have been pulled over and charged by the police.
His belief is that officers have been placed under pressure by Police Scotland to meet targets and that they have focused on lone drivers as they are “easy targets”.
Although many of the accused have successfully disputed the allegations – which have included apparent infractions such as failing to wear a seatbelt or talking on a mobile phone – they have been left hundreds of pounds out of pocket despite the charges against them being dropped. Unlike motorists in England and Wales, drivers are not able to make a claim to have their legal costs reimbursed.
This is especially frustrating, says Brown, as the fees can be multiple times more than the original fixed penalty fine. Even so, drivers are being forced to contest the claims or risk having a ‘black mark’ on their character record, which could affect their employment.
Speaking to the Dumfries and Galloway Standard, Mr Brown said: “If this happened in other parts of the UK, then the individuals affected would be entitled to make a claim for any cost incurred and we seriously need to look at this matter here in Scotland.”
“I will be encouraging my Labour colleagues in the Scottish Parliament to raise this with the Scottish Government,” he added.
At the end of last year, The Telegraph published statistics from Police Scotland for 2013/14 which revealed that the number of motorists convicted of driving offences had increased 14 per cent since the previous year. According to the figures, vehicle defect offences increased by 30 per cent, mobile phone offences were up 27 per cent and seat belt crimes rose by 24 per cent.