House of Commons - Explanatory Note
Serious Organised Crime And Police Bill - continued          House of Commons

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Part 5 - Miscellaneous

Power to seize vehicles driven without insurance

477.     Clause 131 inserts two provisions into the Road Traffic Act 1988. The first, provides constables in uniform with a power to seize a person's motor vehicle, using reasonable force if necessary, where the driver of that vehicle has failed to provide him with evidence that the vehicle is insured and he has reasonable grounds to believe that the vehicle is being or has been driven without the necessary insurance and therefore in contravention of section 143 of the 1988 Act. The vehicle can only be seized after a warning has been provided, unless the giving of such a warning is impracticable. Where the driver of a vehicle makes off before the constable in uniform has the chance to make full enquiries regarding these documents, the constable in uniform may seize the vehicle at any time within 24 hours and for the purposes of such seizure may enter any premises, other than a private dwelling house, on which he has reasonable grounds for believing the vehicle to be. The second provision provides the Secretary of State with a power to make regulations as to the removal, retention, release and disposal of motor vehicles that are seized under the first provision.

478.     The power to stop a vehicle and to request the relevant insurance documentation exists already in sections 163 and 165 of the 1988 Act. Therefore, the new issues raised by this clause relate to the power of seizure and the power to make regulations in respect thereof. The Government recognises that the seizure of a vehicle constitutes an interference with a person's peaceful enjoyment of their possessions under Article 1 of Protocol 1 to the Convention. The Government is satisfied that this interference is proportionate for the purposes of Article 1 of Protocol 1 because it is in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law. The public interest in such a power is illustrated by the large number of persons who drive regularly in the UK without insurance (estimated to be 1.2 million), the financial burden such drivers impose on honest motorists and the relatively high likelihood that such drivers will be involved in road traffic accidents and commit road traffic offences. The proportionality of the interference is guaranteed by the regulations that must be made by the Secretary of State before the exercise of the power of seizure. These regulations must provide that persons can retrieve their vehicles without cost where they were not driving the vehicle and did not know that the vehicle was being driven, had not consented to its being driven and could not reasonably have prevented it from being driven.

Criminal record checks

479.     Clause 140 consolidates and adds to sections 113 and 115 of the Police Act 1997 to create a new UK wide regime for disclosure of criminal records and ancillary information. The new provisions will allow the CRB (and its counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland) to access the lists which operate in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland of people who are barred as being unsuitable to work with children or with vulnerable adults. It also extends the range of police forces from which 'soft' (non-conviction) intelligence material can be sought. Any interference with the right to privacy under Article 8 by the sharing of this information is justified in the interests of the prevention of crime and the protection of the rights and the freedoms of others.

480.     Clause 141 will provide for the sharing of data held by the UK Passport Agency (the "UKPA"), the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (the "DVLA") and the database of National Insurance numbers maintained by the Department for Work and Pensions and will reinforce the legality of sharing data for the purpose of authenticating the identity of disclosure applicants by checking passports and driving licences presented by applicants against the UKPA and DVLA databases. Any interference with the right to privacy under Article 8 by the sharing of this information is clearly justified in the interests of the prevention of crime and the protection of the rights and the freedoms of others.


     ANPR     Automatic Number Plate Recognition
     ARA      Assets Recovery Agency
     ASBOs     Anti-Social Behaviour Orders
     CEHR      Commission for Equality and Human Rights (proposed by the CEHR Bill 2004)
     CJS      Criminal Justice System
     CPS     Crown Prosecution Service
     CRB     Criminal Records Bureau
     CRE      Commission for Racial Equality
     CSOs      Community Support Officers
     DCMS     Department of Culture Media and Sport
     DPP     Director of Public Prosecutions
     DVLA      Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
     ECHR     European Convention on Human Rights (incorporated into UK Law via the Human Rights Act 1998)
     EU     European Union
     FPNs      Fixed Penalty Notices
     HMIC      Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabularies
     HMCE      Her Majesty's Customs and Excise
     HMRC      Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs
     INDIS     Immigration and Nationality Directorate Intelligence Service
     IPCC      Independent Police Complaints Commission
     MPA     Metropolitan Police Authority
     MPS     Metropolitan Police Service
     NAFIS     National Automated Fingerprint Identification System
     NCS     National Crime Squad
     NCIS      National Criminal Intelligence Service
     NOMS     National Offender Management Service (proposed in the 2004 NOMS Bill)
     PACE      Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984
     PITO      Police Information Technology Organisation
     PCSPS     Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme
     POCA      Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
     POVA      Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) scheme in England and Wales for care homes and domiciliary care agencies
     PNDs     Penalty Notices for Disorder
     PSNI     Police Service of Northern Ireland
     PSIA      Private Security Industry Act 2001
     RCPO     Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office (proposed in the HMRC Bill)
     RIPA      Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act
     RPC     Royal Parks Constabulary
     SDEA      Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency
     SFO     Serious Fraud Office
     SIA      Security Industry Authority
     SOCA     Serious Organised Crime Agency
     SOCAP Bill     Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill
     UKPA      United Kingdom Passport Agency
     UN     United Nations
     UNCAC      United Nations Convention Against Corruption
     UNTOC     UN Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime
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Prepared: 24 November 2004