The local OPP issued fewer tickets in 2016 compared with the previous year. The number of tickets issued for provincial offences in the area has been declining for several years.
The United Counties of Prescott and Russell receive revenue from provincial offences issued by OPP officers, for speeding or distracted driving, for example. That revenue has been declining as well. In 2016, police in the area issued 10,086 tickets, compared with 11,678 in 2015 and 18,987 in 2012. If all the fines for 2016 were paid, it would mean $1,753,466 in revenue for the Counties – just over half what that amount was in 2012.
The United Counties council, last year, invited local OPP detachment commanders for a meeting about declining provincial offences revenues. The answer from Inspector Mike Mulhearn of the Hawkesbury OPP was fairly simple: police aren’t responsible for creating revenue. Speaking at an October 21, 2015 meeting, he said: “I don’t believe we’re a revenue-generating agency…in fact, we are not, we’re about public safety. So I can’t speak to revenue going up or down.”
On Wednesday, February 22, counties’ council agreed to “write off” six accounts deemed unrecoverable, because the person owing has died or declared bankruptcy, for example. There is about another $3,553,674 worth of fines, mostly from between 1990 and 2010, which will likely be unrecoverable, because “all reasonable and appropriate measures and efforts to collect these accounts have been depleted,” says a report prepared by Treasurer Julie Ménard-Brault for the UCPR council. Overall, the United Counties is owed $7,889,620 in revenue from provincial offences. “This amount increases every year and this phenomenon occurs across the whole province,” says Ménard-Brault’s report. A collection agency hired by the United Counties was able to recover $250,000 in 2016.