Vehicle Crime Bill

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Eamonn Townsend

Vehicle Crime Bill

Postby Eamonn Townsend » Tue Jan 02, 2001 12:00 am

While broadly welcoming the Government's new Vehicle (Crime) Bill, the BMF are seeking changes to ensure that the interests of Britain's 1 million motorcyclists are taken into account.

The first change summarises the amendments to Part 1, The Regulation of Motor Salvage Operators, the second, a deletion of Clause 37 in Part 3 that in effect gives powers to magistrates courts to re-invest fines in speed and red light cameras.

With motorcycle theft running at more than four times the average vehicle theft rate (73 motorcycles per 1000 are stolen as against 16 per 1000 for cars) and a poor recovery rate of 28% as against 64% for cars, the BMF support measures to control motor salvage breakers but are concerned that because the Bill is primarily concerned with cars, many of the measures will not cover the bike breaking business.

The BMF therefore want to see amendments to cover the breaker whose business is a front for the purchase of stolen parts; the dealer who buys stolen motorcycles alongside legitimate second-hand motorcycles in order to strip them and repair others, and recognition that the business of a motorcycle breaker or dealer need not be conducted in a 'yard' as per the Bill, but may be conducted in an ordinary roofed building, typical of the bike-breaker operation.

On the speed related measures contained in Clause 37, the BMF fully support the prosecution of drivers for bad driving, (particularly for the specific offences of careless or dangerous driving), and would like to see better funding for stricter policing, but are concerned that Clause 37 concentrates on speed and red light camera offences only and are therefore seeking its deletion from the Bill.

In justifying its case, the BMF say that some 50% of motorcycle accidents in Britain are down to driver error involving another vehicle at road junctions, but that Transport Statistics Great Britain show that since 1985, prosecutions for bad driving have fallen by a quarter to 190,000 while convictions for speeding have risen nearly four-fold from 250,000 to 962,000 (latest 1998 figures).

"This massive increase" says BMF Chief Executive Simon Wilkinson, "is solely due to speed cameras and creates a gross distortion of police priorities. Clause 37 of the Bill will encourage Police Authorities to bring yet more prosecutions for speeding to the detriment of pursuing the real villains, the dangerous and careless driver."

Issued by Jeff Stone: Tel: 0121 709 1040 Fax: 0121 705 8784

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