Extending powers to stop is good news for UK enforcement, says FTA

Friday 13 August 2010

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has backed plans to extend into Scotland the stopping powers of enforcement officers that currently exist in England, Wales and, via the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA), into Northern Ireland. The proposals will also remove the cumbersome administrative process and will streamline the accreditation of VOSA officers.

The leading trade body has long been a strong supporter of affording enforcement officers greater powers to stop commercial vehicles.

James Firth, FTA’s Head of Road Freight and Enforcement Policy, said:

“FTA members support the move to allow VOSA and DVA, with their specialist knowledge and equipment, to focus on issues of vehicle roadworthiness and road safety. It is simply a better use of time and resources, with the added benefit of freeing-up police time.”

However, FTA warns that better guidance will be needed to provide drivers with safeguards against bogus VOSA officials.

Firth continued:

“Sadly, reports of criminal gangs impersonating VOSA officers to undertake vehicle hijacking, very often involving serious assaults on drivers, are increasingly common.

“Guidance, similar to that which exists for drivers carrying high-valued loads, needs to be issued to protect drivers who may be genuinely suspicious of the vehicle instructing them to pull over, but equally fearful of prosecution if the officer turns out to be authentic.”

Notes for editors

The Police Reform Act 2002 (PRA) gave VOSA officers in England and Wales the power to stop vehicles for the purpose of vehicle roadworthiness checks without the need to involve the police. The PRA did not extend to Scotland nor enforcement officers of the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland so there has been a disparity in the nature of enforcement processes across the country. In England and Wales the power was considered a trial and as such the accreditation of each VOSA officer to be granted powers to stop had to be conferred upon them by the Chief Officers of Police in each constabulary in which he or she would operate.

For further information please contact FTA’s media team on 01892 552255/01892 552253 or, out of hours, on 07818 450425.


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