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DRIVING CRIMINALS OFF THE ROAD

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Drivers who misuse their vehicles to commit crime and anti-social ...
Drivers who misuse their vehicles to commit crime and anti-social

behaviour now face an unlimited driving ban as part of their

sentence, the Home Office announced today.

The courts now have new powers to ban kerb crawlers, boy-racers and

drivers who abandon their clapped out cars.

Kerb-crawling is a problem that affects communities all over the

country. By banning the drivers causing this serious nuisance, we can

deal with the distress caused to local communities.

Abandoned vehicles dumped in parks and public spaces are a blight on

the environment and are a focus for crime and anti-social behaviour,

banning drivers who abandon their cars sends a strong message that

offenders face serious sanctions. Boy-racers who terrorise

neighbourhoods by driving their vehicles off-road in parks and

wasteland will also face a driving ban.

Issuing guidance to the courts, Hazel Blears said: 'Kerb crawling

and the anti-social use of cars can blight local communities, causing

misery and distress to people going about their daily lives. We are

determined to deal with this growing problem and are giving courts

the powers to ban drivers who use their cars to commit anti-social

behaviour. This new measure will help put a stop to boy racers

driving recklessly in parks and housing estates and kerb-crawlers

harrassing and intimidating women.

'Alongside the new measures in the Anti Social Behaviour Act for

police officers and local authorities, this new power sends out a

strong message that nuisance behaviour be not be tolerated. We are

taking tough action against those who cause distress and disruption

to local communities.'

Under Section 146 (1) of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing)

Act 2000, courts can disqualify a driver for such period as it thinks

fit. The Anti-Social Behaviour white paper 'Respect and

Responsibility' set out how the power would be used to tackle drivers

who use their vehicles to caus e a nuisance to their community.

Notes:

1. Under Section 146 (1) of the Powers of Criminal Courts

(Sentencing) Act 2000, the court by or before which a person is

convicted of an offence committed after 31 December 1997 may, instead

of or in addition to dealing with him in any other way, order him to

be disqualified, for such period as it thinks fit, from holding or

obtaining a driving licence.

2. The power to remove licences will be available to courts from 1

January 2004.

3. The new power is in addition to measures to be introduced under

the Anti Social Behaviour Act (2003) to tackle anti-social behaviour.

4. The Anti Social Behaviour White Paper 'Respect and Responsibility'

was published on 12 March. The Anti Social Behaviour Bill received

Royal Assent on 21 November. The 'Together: Tackling Anti Social

Behaviour' Action Plan was launched on 14 October 2003.

5. Nearly one in five people identify abandoned vehicles as a big or

fairly big problem. In 2001/2002, 293000 vehicles were reported as

abandoned across England. More than one third of all abandoned

vehicles are in London (Together Action Plan: 2003).

6. The Anti-Social Behaviour Unit is working with a number of areas

throughout the country to tackle the problem of abandoned cars by

setting up trailblaizing areas. From October 2004, Operation Scrap-It

will ensure that all vehicles in London and Liverpool confirmed as

untaxed or abandoned will be removed in 24 hours.

7. Under the Police Reform Act 2002, police and community support

officers have the power to seize cars and motorbikes driven

carelessly, inconsiderately, or 'off-road' in a manner that causes

alarm, annoyance or distress. The owner of the vehicle will have to

pay up to£357 to retrieve it.

8. The government is in the process of scoping a review on the issues

surrounding prostitution. This will be published shortly.

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