The Icelandic National Audit Office (INAO) recently published a report on the collection of court fines, stating that since 2014, some ISK 1.3 billion (9.1 million USD, 8.4 million EUR) in court fines have either lapsed or been written off. Now, district attorney Ólafur Þór Hauksson has expressed his concern that this perceived lack of consequences may lead to an increase in offences.
In a statement on RÁS 2, Ólafur said: “Of course, we have to think about the deterrent effect of the work we are doing. So we agree with the state auditor that in order for the deterrent to be effective, the punishments must have some consequences.”
It came forth in the report that higher fines, in excess of ISK 10 million (70,200 USD, 64,700 EUR) were only collected in around 2% of cases. Notably, the Icelandic National Audit Office published a report with similar findings some 13 years ago and suggested changes to be implemented. Little, however, has been done in the intervening years to reform the problem.
The district attorney expressed his fear that the lack of meaningful deterrence could severely undermine law enforcement in Iceland.
“We are trying to confront this today, both by securing funding for fine collection, as well as confiscating illegal gains to try to stop this trend,” Ólafur stated to RÁS 2.