HC Deb 26 February 2002 vol 380 cc1237-8W
Andrew Mackinlay

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will issue guidance to prevent police forces charging victims of car theft the cost of garaging their vehicles while forensic tests are carried out; and if he will make a statement. [36241]

Mr. Denham

The police have a power under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 to remove a vehicle that has been left or parked illegally, obstructively or dangerously, or that has been abandoned or broken down. This may include vehicles that have been stolen. Where a vehicle is so removed, the police have a power to require the owner to meet the costs associated with that removal and subsequent storage. The police do not charge for the storage of vehicles that they retain as evidence or for forensic examination.

Removal and storage costs have to be met, but we are very sympathetic to the sense of injustice that a person may feel in having to meet these costs in order to recover his or her vehicle after it has been stolen. We are considering whether there are any changes to the current position that might be both possible and appropriate, taking into account all the relevant considerations.