Over 3,000 public transport fare evaders in London have been sentenced electronically after a new paperless system was introduced.
The system, which is being used at Lavender Hill Magistrates' Court in south London, allows authorities to punish those evading fares or using fraudulent tickets "more swiftly and effectively."
It is a joint effort between Transport for London (TfL) and HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), the U.K. government said Friday.
Under the system, TfL does not have to manually process and then "physically deliver" case papers to the court. Evidence is now transferred electronically to the court, where a magistrate and legal advisor consider each case using a laptop.
This, the government said, freed up time to "focus on more serious crimes." The system has processed roughly 4,200 cases since April, returning 3,000 sentences, and made enforcement faster. It has also negated the need for staff to physically move documents between TfL and the court.
"We are investing £1 billion ($1.32 billion) to digitize the justice system — making it more accessible for all citizens, more sensitive for witnesses, and delivering better value for taxpayers' money," justice minister Dominic Raab said in a statement.
Siwan Hayward, TfL's head of transport policing, said that the transport authority had worked with HMCTS to streamline what had historically been a labor intensive and paper heavy process.
"The real-time aspect of the system results in court notices being issued within weeks of an offense and prosecutions are concluded sooner so individuals and businesses receive a faster resolution," she said.
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