The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act received Royal Assent on 7 April 2005.
The Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill had its committee stage in the House of Lords on Tuesday 5 April and its report stage and third reading in the Lords on Wednesday 6 April. The Bill was amended at report stage to include provisions from the Road Safety Bill on roadside evidential breath testing and access to the motor insurance database. The Government also introduced an amendment at report stage to ensure that agents of the new Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) will need to be trained in high-speed driving before exemptions from speed limits will apply. Both the Government and Opposition promised to introduce a similar provision for police, ambulance and fire service drivers in the next Parliamentary session.
The Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill had its second reading in the House of Lords on 14 March 2005.
Read PACTS Parliamentary Briefing for the Lords Second Reading of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill
The Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill finished in Standing Committee on 20 January 2005. Two amendments supported by PACTS were discussed. The first sought to extend police powers to seize uninsured vehicles to vehicles driven without a licence. Home Office minister Caroline Flint said that she had ‘a great deal of sympathy’ with the amendment and planned on introducing a similar clause at a later stage. The second sought to extend the range of offences subject to hypothecation of fixed penalties to include those most relevant to vulnerable road users such as zebra crossing and cycle lane legislation.
The Serious Organised Crime and Policing Bill had its second reading in the Commons on 7 December 2004.
Read PACTS Second Reading Briefing on the Serious Organised Crime and Policing Bill
The Serious Organised Crime and Policing Bill received its first reading in the House of Commons on 24 November 2004.
Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill
PRESS RELEASE: 3 December 2004
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety has welcomed major changes to roads policing in the Serious Organised Crime and Policing Bill, which has its second reading in the House of Commons on Tuesday 7 December 2004.
The changes allow police to retain revenue from fixed penalty fines for several key traffic offences, including driving without insurance and failure to wear a seatbelt. It is likely that the changes will reverse the long-term decline in the number of dedicated traffic police on the roads and enable the roll-out of Automatic Number-Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to all police forces.
Robert Gifford, PACTS Executive Director, commented:
Roads policing is an effective tool in reducing road casualties. Its inclusion in a Serious Crime Bill shows that the Home Office is finally taking roads policing seriously.
These changes will make elements of roads policing self-financing and will encourage police forces to direct more resources in this direction. This can only be good news for road safety.
Notes to editors:
1. PACTS is an associate parliamentary group and registered charity advising and informing Members of Parliament on road, rail and air safety issues. It brings together technical expertise from the public, private, academic and professional sectors to promote research-based solutions to transport safety problems. Its charitable objective is to promote transport safety legislation to protect human life. Read PACTS’ Parliamentary Briefing for the Second Reading of the Serious Organised Crime and Policing Bill.
2. The Serious Organised Crime and Policing Bill has its second reading on 7 December 2004. Sections 129 to 133 relate to roads policing . Other measures in the bill include police powers to seize vehicles driven uninsured and a new offence of driving an incorrectly registered motor vehicle.
3. Section 132 of the bill allows police to retain revenue collected from Fixed Penalty Notices for the following offences: seat belt offences; overweight vehicles and trailers; no MOT certificate; driving without a licence; driving without insurance; failure to stop for police; failure to identify the driver; offences relating to noise limits and motorcycle silencers; driving without proper control or view of road ahead (including driving while using a handheld mobile phone); no number plate or obscured number plate; and no VED.
4. The proposals follow recommendations from the Project Laser study, which piloted cost-recovery for ANPR teams in 23 police forces. The final evaluation of Project Laser – ‘Driving crime down: Denying criminals use of the road’.
5 . The numbers of dedicated traffic officers in the UK have been in long-term decline, from 15-20% of force strength in 1966 to approximately 7% in 1998. Dedicated roads police numbers fell by a further 13% between 1998 and 2003.