Laura Laker November 17 2016
Camden police to use section 59 legislation which means helmet cam footage could be used to help remove worst drivers from the road
Police in North London have started using legislation which means drivers caught passing too close to cyclists twice in one year could have their car confiscated and crushed.
Last night Camden police, who have already replicated West Midlands Police’s (WMP) award-winning close pass initiative, armed themselves with Section 59 forms, a piece of legislation under the Police Reform Act 2002, which allows police to seize vehicles being used in an antisocial manner.
At a House of Lords event on Tuesday celebrating WMP’s successful close pass operation Gareth Walker, of Greater Manchester Police, suggested the legislation as another way to tackle bad driving. Questions were raised over why the Metropolitan Police aren’t yet running a similar operation across the force as a whole, which polices 32 boroughs in the capital.
Sergeant Nick Clarke, for Camden Town and Primrose Hill Ward, who already adopted the close pass initiative on his beat, told road.cc: “He happened to mention it and everyone’s brains went: ‘do you know what, we haven’t thought of that!’.”
He said the legislation was originally intended for “boy racers screeching around McDonald’s car parks being idiots” but could be applied to any driving “causing or likely
Sgt Clarke said the response to his updates regarding close passing drivers on Twitter support the notion it causes distress and alarm to cyclists. He said: “The tweets, and retweets I have had; I can stand up in court and say I’m repeatedly told this is why people don’t get on a bike – that this is causing alarm and distress to other people.”
He said his officers will use a “graduated response” and only use them at first on the worst cases of bad driving, such as “punishment passes”.
“We don’t just come in with a sledgehammer, said Sgt Clarke, so just like the start of the close pass stuff we initially didn’t do any reporting, we were just explaining why we are doing this stuff, saying: ‘you could kill someone’.
“Then we said: right, let’s start looking at people digging their heels in, and now we are at the point where we are reporting everyone.”