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Off-Road Vehicles

Volume 404: debated on Thursday 1 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will bring forward proposals for additional powers for police to confiscate vehicles used illegally off-road. [108613]

We have provided new powers under the Police Reform Act 2002 to supplement the offences in the Road Traffic Act 1988. As from January 2003, where a vehicle committing one of the Road Traffic Act offences is being driven in such a way that it is causing or is likely to cause alarm, distress or annoyance to members of the public, a constable in uniform is empowered to stop and seize it. He will be able to enter premises other than a private dwelling to effect the seizure. The owner will be able to retrieve the vehicle on payment of removal and storage charges. Detailed arrangements have been made by regulation to ensure that the owner is not required to pay when the vehicle was used without his consent.The new powers will enable the police to deal with vehicles being used illegally off road more effectively by putting an immediate stop to such anti-social behaviour. Their use is currently being developed by the police and will be monitored to ensure it is effective.In addition there is an existing power in statute for magistrates to remove driving licences for summary offences. We intend to notify the courts that exercise of this power may be an appropriate response for particular offences, including the illegal and anti-social use of a vehicle off-road.