Crossborder Fines



Policy areas

Organisation name Justitie (The Federal Public Service Justice)

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Contact person: Vincent Floré

Every country in the European Union is struggling with a common issue: the identification and effective prosecution of foreign traffic offenders. The European Directive 2015/413 addresses these needs by facilitating the exchange of information on the identity of traffic offenders, as well as the enforcement of penalties for offences across national borders. Based on this European directive to build better road safety, the Crossborder Fines project was launched in 2017 as a collaboration and co-creation between the public sector and private partners.

The European directive imposes a uniform framework on the Member States to harmonise the international systems to facilitate the exchange of information at a European level. A thorough digitisation and centralisation of the national processes and systems for the management and processing of fines is crucial in this regard. The core business of the Crossborder Fines, therefore, consists of centralising and digitising the management and processing of traffic fines from end to end, in cooperation with the different stakeholders. This extends from the establishment of the offence by the police and the prosecution by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, to the provision of services to Belgian or European citizens or enterprises.

From 2020 onwards, Crossborder Fines will also digitise the processes for other criminal offences, including violations of the corona measures, shoplifting and drugs. By ensuring an effective and consistent criminal law enforcement and execution of financial penalties, Crossborder aims to play a role in restoring public confidence in the police and the judiciary. Road safety is a European story that can only succeed through extensive national and European cooperation. Crossborder Fines is therefore taking a pioneering role in this European story with the implementation of the e-CODEX platform in Belgium. This enables Member States to digitally exchange any unpaid fines issued to foreign offenders.

Crossborder Fines ensures better traffic safety by focusing on more efficient criminal enforcement at national and international (cf. e-CODEX platform) levels. The project team also developed various dashboards based on a business intelligence tool, making it possible to tackle recidivism more quickly and efficiently. These dashboards also provide reliable statistics at any time, which can be used to formulate more evidence-based policies.

The extensive digitisation and automation, and the results achieved by Crossborder Fines in the field of managing and processing fines can serve as an example for other European countries. The way of working outlined by Crossborder Fines is already applied on a European level in the management and processing of European certificates that are transferred to the Belgian authorities. A leading role is reserved for certificates coming from the Netherlands. Once the system of European certificates has been developed further in other Member States, it is planned to also process certificates coming from these Member States centrally and automatically. Furthermore, it is also planned to create and send outgoing European certificates (when a European offender ignores a payment order concerning a violation committed in Belgium) in a digital and automatic way to different Member States.

The project has already proved its transferability by digitising and automating not just the processes for traffic fines, but also the management and processing of fines for other criminal offences. All this accumulated know-how and automated processes for traffic offences has made it possible to switch quickly to the centralised processing of criminal offences relating to the health crisis.

Finally, a European directive is at the root of Crossborder Fines and traffic safety is a European story. The Crossborder Fines platform wants to support similar projects in other EU Member States with our lessons learnt, as the digitisation of justice is a challenge faced by most Member States.

Since the project’s launch we have observed that the total number of traffic fines issued has increased by as much as 21 % (almost five million fines issued in 2019 and 2020 compared to just over four million in 2017).

  • In 2019, a total of 4 863 047 fines were sent out. In 2020, the number of traffic fines issued decreased only slightly (despite the lockdown measures) to 4 778 947.
  • In 2019, we sent out EUR 367.3 million in immediate payments, representing an increase of EUR 63.5 million since the project began in 2017.
  • In 2019, a total of EUR 520 million in fines was collected.

An increase in the collection rate of fines was also observed. Whereas 80 % of Belgian offenders spontaneously paid their fine in 2018, this increased to 93 % in 2020. Thus, in less than 7 % of cases, a traffic fines imposed on Belgian offenders remained unpaid during the voluntary phase.

The speed and the quality of cooperation between the police and the judiciary have clearly improved. To further optimise the process of sending traffic fines and to reduce paper consumption, partners also sent fines electronically to the individual’s e-Box, the digital mailbox used by the government and public institutions. In 2019, a total of 7.1 million documents were printed. In 2020, this number was 6.9 million documents, representing a reduction.

Far-reaching digitisation and automation also resulted in a reduction of the administrative workload for 350 FTEs. This has allowed the police and judiciary staff to spend more time on core tasks where human intervention is essential.

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